Much like shallow-water coral reefs, reefs in the deep sea, like those that are built by the stony coral Lophelia pertusa, host rich and diverse communities. These rich ecosystems contain many species that are slow-growing and long-lived. Individual corals of L. pertusa have been dated to be 1,000 years old, and some Lophelia reefs are estimated to be 40,000 years old. Understanding where these ecosystems are found has important implications for management and conservation.
Text contributed by Daniel Wagner, Gulf of Mexico 2018 Co-science Lead, Southeast Deep Coral Initiative at JHT Inc./NOAA National Centers of Coastal Ocean Science.