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Regional Field Initiative SE fieldwork FY16-19
Southeast Deep Coral Initiative (SEDCI): exploring deep-sea coral ecosystems off the Southeast U.S.
Located in Fieldwork Studies
Cape Lookout
Several fish and invertebrate species were observed during this dive. The dive began on dense rubble with Helicolenus dactylopterus, Laemonema spp., squid, and scorpaenids. Scorpaenids and Nezumia spp. were observed in rubble and hard coral habitats. The dominant coral in the area was Lophelia pertusa and was colonized by Echinus spp., numerous galatheids, and brittle stars.
Located in Habitat Reports
Cape Fear Lophelia Banks
The entire dive took place over a dense Lophelia pertusa reef made up of primarily dead L. pertusa boulders and rubble. Only about 5-10% of the coral observed was living. Cup corals were abundant on the dead L. pertusa, while sponges and soft corals were rare. The most common mobile invertebrates were Eumunida picta and brittle stars. A single Rochinia crassa was observed and collected. Flytrap anemones and basket stars were observed occasionally.
Located in Habitat Reports
Stetson Banks
This dive transected a large portion of off-mound habitat and some on-mound habitat in the end. The low profile, off mound habitat had less than 10% live Lophelia pertusa coverage. A few species were seen in the off-mound area. The most common fish species was Laemonema barbatulum, and the most common invertebrate was Plumarella sp. (both on- and off-mound). Urchins and anemones were common. Galatheids were not present off-mound. In the last 30 minutes of the dive, the sub transected the top of a mound where L.pertusa was of higher relief and a greater percentage was alive (>25%). Galatheid crabs, brissingid sea stars, and sponges were common on top of the mound. Other fish species observed included Conger oceanicus, Nezumia spp., Beryx decadactylus, and a few scorpaenids. Sessile invertebrates observed included barrel sponges, glass sponges, Madrepora oculata, and a few gorgonians.
Located in Habitat Reports
Savannah Banks
Very few fish were observed on this dive and were represented by very few individuals. The most common fish was Laemonema melanurum in all habitats observed. A few Nezumia spp. and squalid sharks were observed on mound. Fenestraja plutonia was observed on the soft substrate rubble mix. In the soft substrate rubble mix Phykalleia spp. was abundant in patches. Mound substrate of rock ledge and rubble was covered with abundant mixed fauna. Hard corals were represented by individuals of Lophelia pertusa, Madrepora oculata, Enallopsammia profunda, and numerous cup corals. Gorgonians were abundant but too small to be properly identified.
Located in Habitat Reports
Jacksonville Lithoherms
The Jacksonville lithoherms area is a huge region of hardground outcroppings and deep-sea coral bioherms occurring from about 200 to 800 m depths over a latitude range of about 30° to 31° N. The dominant deep-sea coral is Lophelia pertusa, which colonizes the rocks as well as builds bioherms. Black corals (mostly Leiopathes sp.) are common on the rocky hardgrounds, reach large sizes, and can be hundreds to thousands of years old. Other cniderians observed in this area include Madrepora oculata, Enallopsammia profunda, Plumarella sp., Bathypathes sp., Stylaster spp., Keratoisis sp., cup corals, and numerous anemones. Sponge diversity is quite high.
Located in Habitat Reports
St Lucie Bump
The habitat of interest at St. Lucie Bump consisted of low to high relief coral mounds comprised of 99% dead Lophelia pertusa matrix with occasional live tips.
Located in Habitat Reports
Cape Canaveral North
Multiple dives, on August 7th and August 9th 2009, surveyed the ‘Cape Canaveral North' site using the Johnson Sea Link submersible.
Located in Habitat Reports
Cape Canaveral Shallow
This site is composed of a southern part which contains three adjacent mounds, called Triceratops (Area III), separated from each other by about 500 m. Five JSL dives were made here in Aug 2009 and one Jason ROV dive was conducted here in Nov 2010. S. Brooke also conducted two JSL dives at this location in 2005. The three mounds are Lophelia pertusa bioherms surrounded by coral rubble and coarse sand substrata. The central mound is the largest, reaching a depth of just under 400 m, and the smallest mound is to the east. All three mounds exhibit rugged topography and are capped by extensive fields of living L. pertusa. Diversity of other corals (including Madrepora oculata and Enallopsammia profunda), sponges, and other sessile fauna is quite high on these mounds.
Located in Habitat Reports
Cape Canaveral South
Multiple research cruises, beginning in 2005 and again in 2009, surveyed the ‘Cape Canaveral South' site using the Johnson Sea Link submersible. In 2010, a cruise surveyed the site using the Jason 2 ROV.
Located in Habitat Reports