Scientists from NOAA Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary,
NOAA Fisheries Service,
NOAA Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research,
NOAA Hollings Marine Laboratory, the
University of Alabama’s Department of Geological Sciences;, and the
College of Charleston’s Grice Marine Laboratory
participated in a seven-day (April 8-14, 2010) research cruise aboard the
NOAA Ship PISCES
to investigate deep-water rocky reefs and associated sponges and corals off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina. These corals build up complex
high-relief mounds in deep water (350-900 m) and consist of living, dead and fossil corals and coral rubble that provide important habitat and
feeding grounds for a diversity of marine life including wreckfish, golden crab and royal red shrimp.
Underwater video and high-resolution still photographs were collected using the
Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s remotely operated vehicle
(or ROV). Several of these photos are being used to describe a new species of fishes, while others are being used to improve the description of
species of fishes and invertebrates that are rarely observed in the wild. View some of these photos and ‘fly-along’ with the researchers in
your browser by clicking on one of the five virtual tours below. Toggle the boxes above the map to turn various
features on and off. Zoom in on the map and click on individual photos to see larger images and additional information. Or, download the
data to view externally in Google Earth.
Additional details about the Cruise’s Mission and daily web logs (blogs) from the scientists can be viewed by visiting the
Gray’s Reef Sanctuary Mission page.