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Going Deeper: Fragments of Hope in the Deep Sea

Boch, C.A., A. DeVogelaere, E. Burton, C. King, and J.P. Barry (September 2018)

Poster presentation at International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium, 10-14 September 2018, Monterey, California


Ongoing human impacts on the deep biosphere have raised new questions about the sustainability of deep sea organisms. Deep sea coral communities function as critical habitats for a diversity of deep sea organisms and thus the loss of deep sea coral communities can have profound impacts throughout the deep sea food web. Unfortunately, documentation of trawling, deep sea mining, and oil spills are becoming more common as demands on the deep sea resources continue to rise. This raises an age-old question: can we restore what was lost or has become more vulnerable to continued negative impacts? Like any other ecosystem, possible restoration of deep sea corals through active rehabilitation remains a challenge due to costs, scale of work involved, and poorly understood factors involved in post-transplant survivorship. This latter part remains a technological limitation in all restoration practices to date and understanding how this can be done for deep sea organisms demands considerable attention even as a proof of concept. Here, we report lessons learned from ~3 years of deep sea coral transplant studies and discuss some of the steps needed to overcome current limitations.

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
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