Project Page

Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities - Habitat Assessment and Evaluation

Implementing Organization

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; US Department of the Interior

Overview

DWH Project Funding

$52,639,000

Known Leveraged Funding

$0

Funding Organization

Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (NRDA)

Funding Program

Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA

Details

Project Category

Environmental

Project Actions

Habitat Restoration and Enhancement

Targeted Resources

Benthic Zone/Sea Floor

Project Description

The life histories, diversity, and population structures of Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Community (MDBC) species in the Gulf of Mexico are not well understood. The goal of this project is to fill those data gaps, determine baseline conditions and characterize key community conditions at both injured and reference sites. This project will support and inform restoration planning and implementation for MDBC through strategically designed field surveys, with subsequent laboratory-based analyses of MDBC components and interactions. The surveys will yield the types of samples that support determinations of ages, growth rates, and reproductive potential of mesophotic and deep water corals, as well as their health and condition. In addition, the project will maximize the effectiveness of MDBC restoration and protection efforts through the use of population genetic analysis methods. The project results will fill critical gaps in our understanding of the biology, ecology, health, biodiversity, recovery, and resilience of mesophotic and deep-sea habitats (corals and soft sediments) following the Deepwater Horizon spill. This project will be adaptively managed throughout its seven to eight year timeframe.

Contact

Stephen Heverly
(301) 427-8626
stephen.heverly@noaa.gov
Project Website
Project Partners

None

Affiliated Institutions

None

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