Southern California Coral and Sponge Community Report

A new report "A Characterization of the Coral and Sponge Community on Piggy Bank Seamount in Southern California from a Survey using a Remotely Operated Vehicle" has been produced by the Habitat Ecology Team. From this survey, we have found that this underwater mountain supports very high densities and a remarkable diversity of deep-sea corals and sponges. At least 26 different taxa of corals and 26 different taxa of sponges occur on rocky, mixed, and soft sediment at depths from 275 to 900 m. The high densities and diversity of these corals and sponges could reflect the wide range of habitats and depths of our survey. Whatever the reason, these communities occur inside a new Marine Reserve and will continue to receive protection from any type of fishing that impacts the seafloor. With such protection, the Piggy Bank seamount very likely will serve as a source of young corals and sponges that may repopulate surrounding rocky banks. Our characterization provides the baseline for future monitoring of change to this community and for evaluation of the effectiveness of the new MPA.

Yoklavich, Mary, Tom Laidig, Lisa Krigsman, Andrew Taylor, Diana Watters, Milton Love, Lonny Lundsten, and Ben Negrete.
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.
(View report)

Contact: Habitat Ecology Team

(October 25, 2011)