October 15, 2010
The Habitat Ecology Team has initiated a research program to assess deep-sea coral communities associated with fisheries habitats off California. From preliminary observations, these areas are home to diverse and abundant assemblages of black corals, sea fans, Lophelia, and sponges in a myriad of types, colors, and sizes. Underwater surveys of corals, sponges, and associated habitats and fishes are being conducted on rocky banks in 20-900 meters water depth using direct observations from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), a manned submersible, and an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). Such data also are being retrieved from archived video of past visual surveys, all of which will contribute to a comprehensive deep-sea coral database. This research will assist in (1) understanding those factors that influence settlement and distribution of corals in the deep sea; (2) informing the Pacific Council’s management of Essential Fish Habitat; (3) addressing petitions for conservation; and (4) NOAA’s Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning processes. This is a collaborative effort among investigators from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries (SWFSC and NWFSC), University of California Santa Barbara, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, with additional funds from NOAA’s Deepsea Coral Program.
Yoklavich, M., et al. (2011) A characterization of the coral and sponge community on Piggy Bank seamount in southern California from a survey using a remotely operated vehicle. Report to the NOAA Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program. 63 p.
Deepsea Coral and Sponge Image Database from our 2010 surveys off Southern California.
Love, M.S., M.M. Yoklavich, B.A. Black, and A.H. Andrews. (2007) Age of black coral (Antipathes dendrochristos) colonies, with notes on associated invertebrate species. Bulletin of Marine Science 80:391-400.
(View article on publisher's site , subscription may be required.)
Tissot, B.N., M.M. Yoklavich, M.S. Love, K.York, and M. Amend. (2006) Benthic invertebrates that form habitat on deep banks off southern California, with special reference to deep sea coral. Fishery Bulletin 104:167-181.
Yoklavich, M. and M. Love. (2005). Christmas tree corals: a new species discovered off southern California. Current: The Journal of Marine Education 21:27-30.
Scientists peer at sea life near Anacapa Island (Ventura County Star, July 2, 2010)
2010 Piggy Bank Cruise Report
Christmas tree coral images
West Coast Coral Cruise blog
Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division, Habitat Ecology Team