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Expedition Begins to Investigate Coral Ecosystem Connectivity in Northwestern Gulf of Mexico

Published on: 04/25/2019
Region(s) of Study: Waterbodies / Gulf of Mexico
Primary Contact(s): kimberly.puglise@noaa.gov
Photo of mesophotic coral ecosystem at Geyer Bank (~105 feet deep) in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico

Mesophotic coral ecosystem at Geyer Bank (~105 feet deep) in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Credit: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) and University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Undersea Vehicles Program (UNCW-UVP).

Tomorrow (April 26, 2019), NCCOS and its partners begin their first research cruise to investigate population connectivity of key coral, sponge, and fish species between the shallow and mesophotic coral ecosystems of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and its proposed expansion areas to the east.

The mesophotic zone ranges from 100 to 500 feet deep. Interested parties can follow the expedition and its activities on NOAA’s Office of Exploration and Research website from April 26 to May 11.

The mission is part of a five-year study led by Lehigh University, developed in partnership with NCCOS and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, and National Marine Fisheries Service. The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary will use the results of the research to better understand ecosystem connections between the sanctuary and its proposed expansion areas.

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