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Cultural History of Davidson Seamount:
A Characterization of Mapping, Research, and Fishing

Burton, E.J. (August 2013)

MBNMS Technical Report, 21 p.


Davidson Seamount is an inactive volcanic undersea mountain habitat off the coast of central California, 129 kilometers to the southwest of Monterey and 121 kilometers west of San Simeon (Fig. 1). It is one of the largest known seamounts in U.S. waters (42 kilometers long and 13 kilometers wide). From base to crest, the seamount is 2,280 meters tall, yet its summit is still 1,250 meters below the sea surface. The seamount has been called "An Oasis in the Deep" in an otherwise flat seafloor, hosting large coral forests, vast sponge fields, crabs, deep-sea fishes, shrimp, basket stars, and high numbers of rare and unidentified benthic species.

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries determined that the Davidson Seamount required protection from the take of, or other injury to, benthic organisms or those organisms living near the seafloor because of the seamount's special ecological and fragile qualities, and potential future threats that could adversely affect these qualities. In 2008, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) expanded to include the Davidson Seamount Management Zone (2,007 square kilometers; Fig. 1).

The seamount has special national significance relative to ocean conservation, ecological, scientific, educational, aesthetic, and historical qualities. Throughout history Davidson Seamount has played a role in mapping, research, and fishing. The role of the seamount in the region's rich maritime past is characterized here.

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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