Citation: Citation: Etherington, L., P. van der Leeden, K. Graiff, B. Nickel. 2011. Deep-sea coral patterns and habitat modeling results from Cordell Bank, CA. Report to NOAA Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program, pp. 24.

Abstract: Cordell Bank is a productive offshore ecosystem situated on the edge of the continental shelf in northern California. Deep sea corals are a prominent feature on Cordell Bank. This project represents a data analysis and data mining effort focusing on hydrocorals (Stylaster spp.) and gorgonian corals (Swiftia spp.) on Cordell Bank that builds on previous research and specimen collections. Results from our data mining and verification of museum specimens confirmed that both Stylaster venustus and Stylaster californicus are present on Cordell Bank, making this location an important intersection for these two species that have northern and southern distributions, respectively. Examination of coral species occurrence by habitat variables and spatial distribution across the Bank indicate that hydrocorals and gorgonians occupied different niches – Stylaster spp. was restricted to a small proportion of the Bank, while Swiftia spp. was more broadly distributed. In particular, Stylaster spp. was associated with shallow, hard substrate, high sloping habitats, while Swiftia spp. showed affinity with deeper, low sloping environments and a diversity of substrate types. These results provide important information for understanding fine-scale habitat associations of deep sea corals and provide the foundation for monitoring these communities. In addition, these habitat models aid in our ability to make informed management decisions regarding these sensitive and diverse communities within a National Marine Sanctuary.

This is a deliverable of DSCRTP's project FY09-04.

  • Technical Report
Type: DSCRTP Supported Date: 2011

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  • Pacific Council
  • Cordell Bank