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Research Cruise Maps Caribbean Mesophotic Corals

The University of Puerto Rico research cruise, April 25-May 10, sponsored by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, used high-resolution bathymetric mapping to further detail the distribution of MCEs within the U.S. Caribbean, which will aid in quantifying, understanding and eventually predicting their occurrence. Because MCEs serve as essential habitat and refugia for threatened and overfished shallow species, this work is of keen interest to the Caribbean Fishery Management Council.

Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) (light-dependent corals found at intermediate depths) are largely unexplored yet are now known to be patchily distributed, directly linked to shallow ecosystems, and important for supporting valuable resources and biodiversity unique to the Caribbean region.

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