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Dive 14: The Gulf’s Secret Garden
Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Gulf of Mexico 2018. Download larger version (mp4, 43.5 MB).

Towards the end of Dive 14, we came upon a dense bamboo coral garden at approximately 2,300 meters (~7,545 feet) deep. This was exciting because we had not previously seen such a dense community at this depth in this area before. The dramatic ridge crest appeared to provide ideal conditions for these corals, whose fans were lined up to take advantage of the currents. These corals were likely hundreds, if not over a thousand, years old. The science team notes that to have a high-density community like this, a lot of factors needed to come together, including the right underlying geology, current flow, food availability, coral recruitment, and stability.

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