Gordon Research Conference | Mesophotic Coral Reefs 2018

Project Description

We are pleased to support the 2018 Gordon Research Conference on Mesophotic Coral Reefs in the Anthropocene.

Mesophotic Coral Reef Ecosystems (MCEs) are unique and understudied ecosystems characterized as low-light adapted deep reef communities that occur from ~30-150m. These reefs are typically further offshore from anthropogenic stressors (e.g., coastal development run-off and point-source discharges) and are below the depth limits of most natural stressor events (e.g., storm events and the effects of temperature stress). Additionally, the habitat available for the development of MCEs has been variably estimated at three to ten times the known areal extent of shallow coral reefs (<30 m). As a result, MCEs are increasingly recognized as potentially important refugia for a variety of shallow reef species currently impacted by climate change related stressors. MCE habitats represent a unique ecosystem and there is a critical need to address many questions regarding the structure and function of MCE communities in their own right, but also in the broadest sense that includes their ecological role in the resilience of shallow coral reef communities to environmental insults. The scientists studying MCEs is growing rapidly and includes coral reef ecologists, molecular biologists, oceanographers, physiologists, biogeochemists, paleo-climatologists, fisheries biologists, microbiologists, chemical ecologists, population geneticists and managers interested in resource conservation. This GRC will attract experts from around the world, as well as students and post-doctoral researchers, to present new data and evaluate the evidence supporting the multiple factors controlling the structure and function of MCE communities worldwide.

Our work related to the mesophotic realm has focused on ‘getting there’, and establishing creative mechanisms to put mesophotic data, specimens, and imagery in the hands of those that will carry this work forward.