BOEM’s Environmental Studies Program develops, funds, and manages rigorous scientific research specifically to inform policy decisions on the development of energy and mineral resources on the Outer Continental Shelf. Since 2017, the Deep Sea Exploration to Advance Research on Coral/Canyon/Cold seep Habitats (Deep SEARCH) study has explored the deep-sea ecosystems of the U.S. Mid- and South Atlantic. BOEM is pleased to announce that the Deep SEARCH study and its findings are featured in the special coral reef issue of ECO magazine. The issue highlights international research, expert opinions, and advancements in coral restoration and monitoring technologies.
DEEP SEARCH is funded through an interagency partnership between BOEM, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Geological Survey with sponsorship by the National Oceanographic Partnerships Program. The multi-year interdisciplinary study is designed to shed light on little-known, deep-sea ecosystems of the U.S. Mid- and South Atlantic.
Researchers hope that DEEP SEARCH will improve their ability to predict the location of seafloor communities off the U.S. southeast coast that are potentially sensitive to disturbance. This area encompasses a variety of habitat types, including submarine canyons, coldwater coral mounds and gardens, methane seeps, and soft sediments. Study findings will provide baseline information on the region to help inform BOEM’s future offshore energy and mineral development decisions, especially those that could affect sensitive habitat like deep-sea coral.
ECO magazine published the special digital edition on coral reefs in partnership with the International Coral Reef Society. It will be promoted at the rescheduled 14th International Coral Reef Symposium.