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Click below to go to the Cruise Logs - (photo credit: Lophelia Coral - Open-File Report 2008-1148 & OCS Study MMS 2008-015)

Deep-sea Cruises 2010



Lophelia pertusa (center) surrounded by anemones - click to enlarge
Lophelia pertusa (center) surrounded by anemones - click to enlarge

In our final field year of the 4-year, multi-agency project, we will continue examining deep-sea coral ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean (see Study Sites). This year, we will re-occupy our primary study sites and explore new deep coral reef habitats and their associated microbial communities and fauna. Specimens collected using ROVs and submersibles will be used to characterize the biological diversity, reproduction, growth rates, population connectivity, and associated food webs. Coral will be used as proxies to generate long-term records of past ocean conditions, such as temperature and productivity.

This year, we will deploy a new benthic lander in the Gulf of Mexico. This lander will collect long-term measurements of temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, productivity, currents and other oceanographic parameters which will enable us to better understand the environmental conditions in which deep-corals and their associated fauna thrive. The Lander will be equipped with specially designed mesocosms containing live corals in order to estimate growth rates and identify physiological changes.

Crab (Eumunida picta) with flytrap anemones (Actinoscyphia saginata) - click to enlarge
Crab (Eumunida picta) with flytrap anemones (Actinoscyphia saginata) - click to enlarge
In addition, settlement plates will be inoculated with microbes and attached to the lander in order to understand the substrate conditions required for corals to settle. Specifically, we will assess whether several bacteria previously isolated from Lophelia pertusa can enhance settlement of that coral's larvae.

Lastly, each cruise will incorporate an education and outreach component, including provision of real-time communication with the public through our cruise logs. Please stay tuned as our first cruise departs Gulfport on September 20th. This first cruise will end in St. Petersburg, FL on 3 Oct.


arrow icon Dive and Discover - Expedition 13: Gulf of Mexico (You are leaving this site)

arrow icon DISCOVRE Involvement in Deep Gulf of Mexico Research since the Deepwater Horizon Event

arrow icon Deep-sea Cruises 2010 - Cruise 2 (You are leaving this site)

arrow icon Deep-sea Cruises 2010 - Cruise 1 Logs


Media Inquiries: Amanda Demopoulos, (352) 264-3490, amandad@usgs.gov



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