Deep sea coral communities and fisheries habitats off California

March 22, 2016

The Habitat Ecology Team leads a collaborative research program to assess deep-sea coral communities associated with fisheries habitats off California. 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 20-1200 meters water depth using direct observations from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), a manned submersible, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), and a towed-camera system. Our databases include taxonomic identification, counts, sizes, and condition of corals and sponges, and location, depth and substratum types of seafloor habitats. Our 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, Oregon State University, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, with additional funds from NOAA’s Deepsea Coral Program.

Learn more:

Yoklavich, Mary, M. Elizabeth Clarke, Tom Laidig, Erica Fruh, Lisa Krigsman, Jeff Anderson, Jeremy Taylor, and Chris Romsos. 2016. A characterization of deep-sea coral and sponge communities in areas of high bycatch in bottom trawls off northern California. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SWFSC-556 (39 p.).
( View report)

Online seminar series: Deep-sea corals and sponges as habitat

Deep-sea coral survey images

NMFS Scientists Take a First Look at Deep-sea Corals Near the California-Oregon Border (October 21, 2014)

Huff, D.D., M.M. Yoklavich, M.S. Love, D.L. Watters, F. Chai, and S.T. Lindley. (2013) Environmental factors that influence the distribution, size, and biotic relationships of the Christmas tree coral Antipathes dendrochristos in the Southern California Bight. Marine Ecology Progress Series 494:159-177 .
( View article on publisher's site The previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimer )

Yoklavich, Mary, Tom Laidig, Andrew Taylor, Diana Watters, Lisa Krigsman, and Milton Love. 2013. A characterization of the Christmas tree black coral (Antipathes dendrochristos) community on three seamounts in the Southern California Bight from a survey using a manned submersible. Report to NOAA Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program, Silver Spring, Maryland. 82 p.
( View report)

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.
( View report)

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 The previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimer , 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.
( View article)

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.
( View article)

Scientists peer at sea life near Anacapa Island The previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimer (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

Last modified: 3/22/2016