FLORIDA'S DEEP WATER OASES
Exploration Of A Deep Reef Ecosystem
When - May 31, 2006 to June 9, 2006
Where - Miami Terrace escarpment, depths of 800 to 2500 ft, 15 NM off Fort Lauderdale
Who - J. Reed, T. Sutton, M. Youngbluth, T. Frank
What - This multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research cruise will explore a relatively unknown deep-water reef on the Miami Terrace off the coast of Florida. This region of the Miami Terrace escarpment provides habitat for a rich, deep-water reef ecosystem. Participants will include scientists from the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution's (HBOI) Deep Ocean Exploration Working Group (Divisions of Marine Science, Biomedical Marine Research, and Ocean Engineering), and colleagues from various Florida universities, government agencies and NGOs. Funding for ship and submersible time is provided by an HBOI internal grant.
From May 31 to June 9, 2006, a multi-disciplinary approach will provide a preliminary assessment of the biodiversity and relative abundance of the benthic, fish and zooplankton communities; geological features; physical processes within this ecosystem; and biochemical compounds of interest for drug discovery.
The results will be made available to the State of Florida's Ocean Commission to enhance development of research goals and priorities for deep-water reef studies off Florida's coast. In addition, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) and NOAA Fisheries are currently developing a Deep-Water Coral Research and Monitoring Plan as part of the Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery Management Plan in which the Miami Terrace region is one of six proposed deep-water Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC).
This cruise will provide data for various aspects of this management plan. In addition, the Miami Terrace is an area of interest by various companies planning to develop deep-water pipelines and ports for the natural gas industry which could impact the benthic communities.
This expedition is made possible through internal funding by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.