Why we explore deep-water canyons off our coast

Why we explore deep-water canyons off our coast

Little-known to the 34 million residents on shore, these 90-plus canyons and their deep-water habitats are some of the most productive on the planet. Deep-water coral ecosystems also help support valuable commercial fisheries. Deep-water corals and other canyon inhabitants are vulnerable to rising ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, physical damage from bottom trawling, and other destructive seafloor activities. Although extensive deep-water coral communities were first discovered in the 1970s, these specialized ecosystems have remained largely unexplored. Shank’s team found that deep-water corals often dominate the seafloor canyon landscape.

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