August 15, 2016
Coral reefs are most commonly associated with warm and shallow waters. They are abundant in life and rich in biodiversity. However, coral reefs are not just a thing of tropical waters. Last week, Oceana — a marine conservation nonprofit — explored the deep waters of the sea floor around the Channel Islands.
During this 5-day expedition, aboard the NOAA research Vessel, a remotely operated vehicle revealed hundreds of species of rockfish, corals of every color — from gold corals to pink bubblegum coral — and an array of sea fans.
As this expedition has shown, deep water habitats can be just as vibrant as their shallow counterparts. These deep, cold water coral reefs contain some of the oldest living organisms on the planet. Some coral colonies date to over 4,000 years old and the rockfish that dominate these areas are among the longest-lived fishes.
While there little is known about the deep water habitats along the Channel Islands, research groups have been increasing efforts to understand the world far beneath the surface.
Read more about Oceana’s exploration of the Channel Islands deep sea corals HERE