Conservation Lecture Series
Thursday, June 13, 2013 7 PM
When most people think of coral reefs, images of warm, blue, sunlit waters and brightly colored fish come to mind. These are the reefs that provide food and recreation for millions of people, but there are other reefs in the cold darkness of the deep sea that are just as important but less well-known than their shallow counterparts. These reefs are also stunning, with giant coral trees, sponges that Dr. Zeuss would be proud of and many other animals that use the reefs for food and shelter.
Deep corals can be found in nearly all of the world's oceans and can live thousands of feet below the surface on rocky habitats along continental slopes and seamounts. These animals grow very slowly and can live for hundreds to thousands of years. While they grow, they incorporate minerals from the water into their skeletons, which then provide a historical archive of seawater chemistry through the lifetime of the coral. This record can help us understand past and future changes in ocean conditions. Some deep reef inhabitants also contain compounds that can be made into human medicine. Large deep coral habitats occur in the Gulf of Mexico and all along the southeastern US, and are still in almost pristine condition. This lecture will describe these wonderful ecosystems and their diverse inhabitants as well as discuss recent research on deep corals by FSU and collaborators.
*Free and open to the public. No registration required.