In a hallmark collaboration between scientists from National Marine Sanctuaries, NCCOS, USGS, and California Academy of Sciences, the characterization of seafloor habitats in newly expanded areas of two West Coast sanctuaries is now available online. Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) surveys were conducted in September 2014 in theCordell Banks National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS) and the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) to characterize deep-water benthic habitats, ground truth predicted habitat classifications and habitat suitability models, and contribute to education and outreach about deep-water habitats.
Two primary geological features, ‘The Football’ in GFNMS, and Bodega Canyon in CBNMS, were identified by USGS collaborators, and explored by NCCOS scientists. InBodega Canyon at least 30 taxa of fish, 6 coral taxa and 6 sponge taxa were observed. At The Football at least 34 taxa of fish, 5 coral taxa and 4 sponge taxa were observed, as well as several aggregations of catshark and skate egg cases. A new species of octocoral was collected at The Football and given the nameSwiftia farallonesica.
Ongoing collaborations between institutions continue to be important in monitoring our valuable National Marine Sanctuary system. More project details can be found here.
For more information, contact Enrique Salgado.