We are pleased to have supported 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 depth. 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.
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.