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NOAA Launches Deep-Sea Coral Data Portal

NOAA has launched the Deep-Sea Coral Data Portal to better serve the data needs of ocean resource managers and scientists. The Data Portal has a map displaying the distribution of more than 300,000 deep-sea corals and sponges. This is the most comprehensive collection of deep-sea coral and sponge records in U.S. waters. It is built on the National Database for Deep-Sea Corals and Sponges maintained by NOAA’s Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program.

Besides showing the locations of the corals and sponges, the map also includes:

  • underwater photos of individual corals
  • extensive data for download about the corals and sponges, such as their density, size and substrate
  • reports that characterize the deep-sea coral and sponge habitats surveyed over the last decade by scientists from NOAA, other agencies, and universities.

The National Database for Deep-Sea Corals and Sponges is continually expanding, incorporating new records from recent fieldwork observations and historic archives. These records will be reflected on the Data Portal map.

The Portal also offers information about all 60 studies funded by the Deep Sea Coral Program since 2009, and a growing library of NOAA publications on deep-sea corals and sponges.

Deep-sea corals and sponges provide vital habitat for numerous fish and invertebrate species, including commercially important rockfish, grouper, shrimp, and crab. Areas where corals and sponges grow to a large size or occur in high density can support a high level of biodiversity. NOAA is committed to studying and conserving these areas.

Posted September 1, 2015