Deep-sea Cruises 2010 - Cruise 1
Cruise Log: 9/27/2010
Four year perspective from the chief scientist
|Lophelia reefs are rich with life including conger eels, anemones, crinoids, and crabs. - click to enlarge|
This cruise on the R/V Cape Hatteras
(Duke/UNC Oceanographic Consortium), using the Univ. of Conn. ROV Kraken II
, culminates a four year field effort to better understand the distributions and ecology of deep-sea coral ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. Our research team composed of scientists from USGS, UNCW, MCBI, NOAA and the Netherlands has collected a huge and diverse mass of data on topics ranging from microbiology, to population genetics, community structure, coral biology, feeding ecology, and taxonomy. The publications that will follow these cruises over the next few years will be instrumental in the development of management and conservation plans geared toward protecting deep coral habitats. Deep-sea research is expensive and data accumulates at a slow rate compared with more shallow marine research. This four year effort in the Gulf is closely allied with our complementary research off the southeastern U.S., giving us the advantage of a wide geographic perspective. Our cruises along with those of our collaborators have greatly expanded the horizons of knowledge about fragile and productive deep-sea ecosystems.