Understanding the ways deep sea coral maintain their reefs will support their protection
Cold water coral reefs are massive bioconstructions developing under complex interactions between deep-sea calcifying corals and the surrounding environment, with a biological richness comparable to that of shallow-water tropical coral reefs. They have a paramount role in maintaining high biodiversity in the deep ocean, and are considered vulnerable marine ecosystems severely endangered by human activities. The EU-funded HABISS project aims to quantify the multi-scale interactions between the geomorphology of cold water coral reefs and the surrounding hydrodynamics that regulates food and oxygen supplies for their growth and maintenance. Insight from pristine and human-impacted coral reefs will inform decision makers tasked with the implementation of environmental policies to protect the deep-sea, considered the most unknown and vulnerable ecosystem on our planet.
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