Citation: Etnoyer, PJ, TC Shirley, KA Lavelle. 2011. Deep Coral and Associated Species Taxonomy and Ecology (DeepCAST) II Expedition Report. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 137. NOAA/NOS Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research, Charleston, SC. 42 pp.

Abstract: The DeepCAST II Expedition explored depths below the Meso-American Reef in Roatán, Honduras from 21- 28 May 2011. The team explored deep-sea habitats using the Roatán Institute for Deep-sea Exploration submersible Idabel, captained by Karl Stanley. The team made six dives between 1200 and 2200 feet deep (365 and 670 meters), conducting photo and video transects to estimate coral and sponge diversity and abundance, characterizing water chemistry, and collecting corals and mollusks to discern the relationships between corals and their epifauna. Among the highlights of the trip were: 1) First confirmed documentation of live Lophelia pertusa along the Meso-American Reef. 2) Comprehensive sampling of slit shell diversity for genetic and biogeographic studies. 3) Live aggregations of very large, presumably very old, deep-sea gorgonian corals. 4) Octocoral diversity and biomass exceeding well-known sites in the Gulf of Mexico. 5) Numerous species in association with corals, including sea stars, sea urchins, brittle stars, mollusks, crabs, and fishes. 6) Evidence of agonistic interactions, including predation on deep-sea coral colonies. 7) Photographic data to measure coral recovery rates from prior predation events. 8) Evidence of human pollution (trash & fishing gear) degrading coral habitat near 1500 ft (460 m).

  • Technical Report
Type: Partner Supported Date: 2011
  • International
  • Honduras
Internal References:
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