Project Page

Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities - Mapping, Ground-truthing, and Predictive Habitat Modeling

Implementing Organization

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; US Department of the Interior


DWH Project Funding


Known Leveraged Funding


Funding Organization

Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (NRDA)

Funding Program

Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA


Project Category


Project Actions

Habitat Restoration and Enhancement

Targeted Resources

Benthic Zone/Sea Floor

Project Description

The abundance and distribution of Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities (MDBC) across the Gulf of Mexico are not completely known, particularly in deeper waters, presenting a challenge to decision-making for restoration, management, and protection and to evaluations of DWH injuries and recovery. This project will conduct high-resolution mapping efforts in both mesophotic and deep benthic habitats and use this information to refine predictive models to improve the effectiveness and cost efficiency of future restoration and mapping efforts. This project will also analyze the abundance and distribution of these communities, as well as provide data on depth ranges, densities, and distributions of specific coral species. The data collected in this project will provide fundamental information to prioritize and support MDBC protection and management activities and to identify potential locations for direct restoration activities. This project will be adaptively managed throughout its seven- to eight-year timeframe.


Kristopher Benson
(409) 621-1200
Project Website
Project Partners


Affiliated Institutions

For official trustee information regarding the Deepwater Horizon NRDA, including information regarding the NRDA process and the status of projects, see

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