Exploring the Coral Canyons on Boston's Doorstep

Exploring the Coral Canyons on Boston's Doorstep

Exploring the Coral Canyons on Boston's Doorstep

Dive In
Location

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

Partners

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI)

National Geographic

Release Date

Winter 2019

Location

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

Partners

Bloomberg Philanthropies
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI)
National Geographic

Release Date

Winter 2019

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts is a marine national monument located approximately 130 miles from Boston. These untouched canyons support abundant marine life, including unknown species and deep sea corals. 

Overview

These canyon environments are so rare that they can be said to resemble remote islands, with the capacity for tremendous biodiversity and evolutionary adaptations that illuminate how our planet works. On the second anniversary of the Canyons’ designation as a Marine National Monument, OceanX voyaged with scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to conduct the first-ever, deep-sea submersible dives to explore and characterize these recently protected unique, biodiverse, and vulnerable deep-sea canyon habitats. 

6x

historic dives

6x

historic dives

2x

new coral species discovered

2x

new coral species discovered

Findings

Scientists found surprising patterns of species diversity, including red and white bubblegum corals, Lophelia, and primnoid corals. They also made history — within the Lydonia canyon, the team collected an entirely new species of white bubblegum coral at 623 meters. Additionally, coral species observed at a depth of 900 meters were unexpectedly almost completely different (one or two coral species shared) from coral species observed in shallower waters at 500 m. The team also observed for the first time Lophelia hard coral at 900m, which is on the deeper distribution of this species. Lophelia hard coral is a noteworthy species, having been in the news for forming a massive (~80 mile long) reef off of South Carolina. 

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