Project Title: Assessing Deep-Sea Coral Communities from Archived Video Surveys off California
Goal or Purpose

To quantify deep-sea corals and sponges (DSC) from archived video transects conducted from a manned submersible on rocky banks off southern California. These data are being integrated into an existing geospatial database, which represents DSC in a diverse array of demersal habitats off southern California.

Anticipated Management Application(s)

These data can be used in characterizations of DSC distribution and abundance throughout the Southern California Bight. This information will represent the baseline for future evaluation of change to these communities. These data will contribute to the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program’s national data management efforts and to the development of predictive models of DSC distribution in southern California. These data have been provided to the West Coast Groundfish Essential Fish Habitat Review Committee, and also will contribute to the next edition of the report on the State of Deep-Sea Coral Ecosystems of the United States. These data will be used to improve our understanding of distribution, abundance, and hot spots of deep-sea coral, which in turn will be used to improve DSC conservation and management.

Fiscal Funding:
  • FY 2010 @ $50,000

 
Region(s):
  • Pacific Council
Location(s):
  • California
Two types of sea fans: single red stalk with white polyps (Swiftia type) and red multi-branching with yellow polyps (Swiftia pacifica), and large peach-colored cup corals on rock at 238-meter depth off southern California. Paired lasers (red dots) are 20 cm apart. Credit: NOAA Fisheries SWFSC
Project Type:
  • Data Mining
Point of Contact: Office of the Point of Contact:
  • NMFS SWFSC
Team Members:
  •  None Defined.
Project Title: Assessing Deep-Sea Coral Communities from Archived Video Surveys off California
Methods/Approach

DSCs are quantified from archived video dives that were conducted using a manned submersible and non-extractive survey methods, on several rocky banks throughout the Southern California Bight from 2001 to 2008. Corals and sponges are being identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level and counted along 15-minute transects. Size and other attributes of these organisms are being recorded. All data are being entered into a geo-referenced, relational database, which already includes information about associated habitats (depth, temperature, bottom types), groundfishes, and transect locations.

Project Results and Management Outcomes

Video collected during 15 transects has been reviewed from 10 dive sites in water depths from 50 to 350 meters. One site in particular was home to very high densities and diversity of corals. A total of 11,719 corals from at least 20 taxa have been enumerated. Various types of sea fans were among the most abundant corals, including gold corals (Acanthogorgia spp.), purple gorgonians (Eugorgia rubens), and Swiftia spp. Cup corals, including substantial colonies of Lophelia pertusa, also were relatively abundant. A total of 2,862 sponges from at least 18 taxa in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors were recorded. Sponges were classified by general morphology because species identification generally requires examination of spicules from collected specimens. The most abundant sponges were foliose, vase, shelf, upright flat, and barrel sponges. 

Project Title: Assessing Deep-Sea Coral Communities from Archived Video Surveys off California
Internal References:
  •  None Defined
 
Backlinks:
  •  None Defined

FY10_10 image.jpg
Two types of sea fans: single red stalk with white polyps (Swiftia type) and red multi-branching with yellow polyps (Swiftia pacifica), and large peach-colored cup corals on rock at 238-meter depth off southern California. Paired lasers (red dots) are 20 cm apart. Credit: NOAA Fisheries SWFSC