The essays below will help you to understand the goals and objectives of the mission and provide additional context and information about the places being explored and the science, tools, and technologies being used.
In August 2017, NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science will lead an 18-day expedition aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster to map, survey, and sample deep-sea coral ecosystems in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic Bight, focusing on management priority areas.Read more
In 2016, NOAA launched a new four-year initiative to study deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems across the Southeast United States. This multidisciplinary effort, known as the Southeast Deep Coral Coral Initiative, is led by a science team from multiple NOAA offices, working in close collaboration with partners from multiple federal and academic institutions.Read more
Deep-sea corals are defined as corals that live at depths greater than 50 meters, but most species live in depths several hundred meters deep, in cold, dark, rocky habitats, often far from shore. Unlike shallow-water coral reefs, deep-sea corals are found throughout the world’s oceans, from tropical to polar regions.Read more
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is responsible for managing fishery resources in the U.S. federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which extend from state waters to the 200-mile boundary of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.Read more
Using multibeam echosounders, oceanographers map areas of the ocean floor to support their research, particularly areas that have never been mapped before. Located about 150 miles off St. Petersburg, Florida, the West Florida Shelf is mostly unknown, as a large portion of the area remains to be mapped.Read more
The Oculina Bank, named after the slow-growing ivory tree coral, Oculina varicosa, is a narrow strip of coral reefs located off the central east coast of Florida. Oculina coral thickets at depths ranging from 75-90 meters. These thickets support diverse communities of finfish and invertebrates, and consequently have been designated as essential habitat for many species of fish.Read more
Data describing the distributions of deep-sea corals and other species that live in the deep ocean are often limited by the prohibitive costs and logistical difficulties of surveying the deep ocean. Habitat suitability modeling has become a cost-effective tool for identifying potential locations of deep-sea corals and other species, particularly for areas that have never been explored.Read more