A new NOAA report outlines the objectives and activities of the Southeast Deep Coral Initiative (SEDCI). The initiative is a coordinated, cross-line office effort that includes partners from NOAA Fisheries, Ocean and Atmospheric Research, and National Ocean Service; and aims to collect scientific information needed to manage deep-sea coral ecosystems across the Southeast U.S through the year 2019. An area with diverse management and research priorities, the study region includes the federal waters of the U.S. Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. SEDCI is coordinated by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) and supported by NOAA’s Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program (DSCRTP).
The SEDCI science plan includes twelve research expeditions over a four-year period, in addition to ten complementary research projects focused on seafloor mapping, habitat suitability modeling, species identification, environmental monitoring and data mining. Multidisciplinary research explorations, which beganlast year, will take place aboard NOAA ships in 2017-2019, including telepresence explorations aboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2018-2019.
Data collected through SEDCI will directly support management efforts by National Marine Sanctuaries and regional Fishery Management Councils, as well as promote scientific research with partners in state universities and international collaborations.