From May 2022 through May 2024, a team of researchers will apply the emerging technology, environmental DNA or eDNA, to explore and characterize deep-sea coral communities in the remote tropical Pacific Ocean.
Deep-sea corals are an important component of community biodiversity in the deep ocean worldwide. However, due to the difficulty of accessing these environments, many of them remain uncharacterized. Currently, there is limited understanding of the taxonomy and overall diversity and connectivity of deep-sea coral communities across the remote tropical Pacific region.
The Exploring the Biodiversity of Remote Pacific Ocean Deep-Sea Coral Communities With eDNA project team is using existing eDNA and deep-sea coral samples collected on prior expeditions from around Pacific remote islands and seamounts to explore and characterize the biodiversity and locations of deep-sea coral communities.
The results from this project will provide an important source of baseline data, which will guide future exploration in the remote tropical Pacific, provide a basis for monitoring of deep-sea coral communities, and provide data for national marine sanctuary and marine national monument management.
Funding for this expedition was provided by NOAA Ocean Exploration via its Ocean Exploration Fiscal Year 2022 Funding Opportunity.