Atlantic deep sea corals, new study

This video is called Octocoral.

From Wildlife Extra:

Atlantic coral gardens attract greater protection

December 2013: Deep sea octocorals are an important element of the marine environment, providing shelter and hunting grounds for shrimps and a wide variety of fish species. Being soft animals that lack a stony skeleton they are particularly vulnerable to damage from fishing gear and drift nets.

A recent paper on the Gulf of Maine in the US, where a century of commercial fishing was thought to have cleared the area of this type of seafloor fauna, has revealed that impressive gardens of yellow and purple colonies of octocorals still flourish in pockets where the topography of the seabed has protected them.

The team that produced the paper for publication in the Biodiversity journal employed sophisticated video and still photography equipment to observe and measure the octocoral polyps at a depth of 200 to 250m. The researchers revealed: “We found areas with steep and vertical rock faces had the highest densities of octocorals… compared to areas with less vertical relief.”

Also observed in association with these corals were pandalid shrimps, Atlantic cod, cusk, pollock, silver hake and Acadian redfish.

The report concluded with a recommendation that these isolated and rare octocoral garden communities deserve a greater focus of conservation. National laws and international agreements now require the protection of vulnerable species such as deep-sea corals and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management is currently developing a deep-sea coral amendment which will freeze the footprint of the fishing industry and conserve current coral hotspots, which this report will have helped to identify.

Cold water coral: here.

Researchers studied nitrogen levels in the skeleton of a 130-year-old brain coral living 620 miles from the North American mainland and found that the nitrogen from human sources was less than had been estimated: here.

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8 thoughts on “Atlantic deep sea corals, new study

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