We have a new state in this country! Welcome number 53. It’s called “The State of Deep Coral Ecosystems of the United States”
Of course, it’s not a state, really, in the Nunavut sense of the word. This is a federal deep-sea coral report prepared by NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program to address the status of our knowledge about deep corals and the capacity of our federal government to manage deep coral habitat.
The “State of Deep Coral Ecosystems…” report was commissioned, in effect, by the President’s Ocean Action Plan, so we take it seriously here at DSN. Seriously. It’s a comprehensive, peer- reviewed report called for the President of the United States, written by a a dozen deep-sea biologists. How cool is that? I hope he reads it. We should ask Sylvia Earle to plant a copy on him next time they go for dinner. Maybe ship a box to the Congress.
In a sense, this report will be guiding our deep-coral research and management priorities for the next several years, given the budget demands. Your university can use this document to lobby your elected officials and state representatives. The word on the street in Washington is that this is a beautiful, full-color, glossy publication, just perfect for illustrating the living beauty of these fragile ecosystems.
The new report documents the biology, distribution, and types of deep-sea corals on the continental shelves and slopes of the US including its Caribbean and Pacific territories. This is not a literature review, but the references alone are likely to be an important resource to students of deep-sea biology from around the world. The “State of the Deep Coral Ecosystems..” summarizes what’s currently known about deep corals in each of the major US region in chapters authored by experts familiar with the region. That is, the deep-sea biologists that actually study the organisms. These people are the best possible authors, because they have first hand knowledge that exceeds the paltry literature available on the topic.
So, if you live in or like to visit Honolulu, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Miami, New Orleans , or New York, and you want to know what’s living down there deeper than 200m off the coasts of these wonderful cities, download this and curl up by the fireplace with a nice mug of hot chocolate over the holidays.