Author: Krystle Anderson
The deep, cold waters off the rocky coast of Point Sur, California, are home to an unexpected community of organisms that most people associate with tropical settings—corals. Scientist Charlie Boch and his colleagues recently compared different methods to restore deep-sea coral by transplanting live coral fragments and measuring their survival rates. The experiment was conducted on Sur Ridge, 60 kilometers (37 miles) offshore and 800 to 1,300 meters (2,624 to 4,265 feet) below the ocean’s surface.
Deep-sea coral and sponge communities don’t receive as much attention as their shallow-water counterparts, but their roles in deep-sea ecosystems are equally as important and, unfortunately, they are just as vulnerable to human impacts, including trawling, mining, and pollution. Scientists have confirmed that human activities in deep-sea habitats are having serious effects on the coral and sponge communities but options to actively mitigate those effects have not been established.
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