Project Title: Small Project: Photographic guide of deep-sea corals in the Southeast US
Project Summary

LeadsRaven Blakeway, Andrew Shuler, Enrique Salgado, Peter Etnoyer

The objective of this project was to create a series of photographic guides to mesophotic and deep-sea corals in the Southeast Region. The guides consist of high-quality, in situ photos of deep-sea corals, but also contain on-deck images of sampled organisms, images from light microscopes, and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The photo guide(s) are available via web-accessible platforms (NOAA portals, Deep-Sea ID, World Register of Deep-Sea Species and SMarTaR-ID), in order to provide tools that can be used by the broader scientific community, as well as for education and outreach purposes.

Anticipated Management Application(s)  None Defined
Location(s):
  • Caribbean
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Southeast U.S. coast
Point of Contact: Office of the Point of Contact:
  • NOS NCCOS
Project Title: Small Project: Photographic guide of deep-sea corals in the Southeast US
Methods/Approach

High-quality in situ photographs were collected by several previous deep-sea explorations in the Southeast Region.  Images of these expeditions have either been secured and published already (e.g., octocorals in Etnoyer et al. 2016; Quattrini et al. 2014; black corals in Opresko et al. 2016) or are available through the OER Digital Atlas. Additional images of deep-water fauna were collected during research expeditions as part of the SEDCI in 2016-2019. These images were reviewed to select the highest quality images that show organisms inhabiting deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems, focusing on habitat-forming taxa like corals and sponges, but also including their associates. These images were then identified to the lowest possible taxon in consultation with taxonomic experts at various institutions.

The deep (>300m) coral photo guide encompasses six Okeanos Explorer cruises through the greater Southeast U.S. — EX1711, EX1803, EX1806, EX1811, EX1903, and EX1907.

The mesophotic coral guide compiled full color imagery (in situ, ex situ), with light and electron micrographs for 23 species of gorgonian octocorals from the 50-150 m depth range in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary guide encompasses corals and sponges within the sanctuary. This guide will be an update to their current poster-format guides found here: octocorals, black corals, stony corals and sponges

Project Results and Management Outcomes  None Defined

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