Deep Sea Corals
Connecting the Dots
Since 2010, the NOAA OER has been collecting mapping data along the Blake Plateau, Blake Ridge, and Blake Escarpment and has mapped over 65,000 square kilometers (25,097 square miles) of seafloor in this region. Until recently, much of this area was thought to be flat and devoid of features that would make it suitable to support coral communities; however, mapping done via the Okeanos in 2018 and 2019 has revealed a very different picture, showing a seafloor covered with “mound” features. Exploration using ROVs has revealed these mounds are formed by extensive deep-sea coral communities, changing our perspective of the region as we continue to connect the dots to understand the deep.