Gumdrop and Pioneer Seamounts – Offshore Seabird Havens

By Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute Gumdrop and Pioneer Seamounts Gumdrop and Pioneer are neighboring seamounts located approximately 45 miles off the coast of California, close to San Francisco. The summit of Pioneer Seamount sits approximately half a mile (2,690 feet) below the surface, while Gumdrop Seamount is even deeper – 3,960 Read more about Gumdrop and Pioneer Seamounts – Offshore Seabird Havens[…]

Cortes and Tanner Banks: Recreation and Biodiversity Hotspots

By Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute Cortes and Tanner Banks Cortes and Tanner Banks are twin seamounts located approximately 80 miles off the coast of California, and just five miles from each other. As recently as 10,000 years ago, the banks would have been classified as islands instead of seamounts, as rocky Read more about Cortes and Tanner Banks: Recreation and Biodiversity Hotspots[…]

Gorda and Mendocino Ridges – California’s Test Cases for Deep-Sea Mining

By Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute The Gorda and Mendocino Ridges are a complex series of oceanic ridges just off the coast of northern California, and are home to unique deep-sea ecosystems including hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. Unfortunately, these areas may be at risk from future deep-sea mining efforts. It is Read more about Gorda and Mendocino Ridges – California’s Test Cases for Deep-Sea Mining[…]

Davidson Seamount: A Deep-Sea Oasis

By Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute Davidson Seamount is an underwater volcano located just 75 miles off the coast of California. Its summit rises an impressive 7500 feet above the surrounding seafloor, yet still remains hidden beneath 4100 feet of water. One of the largest seamounts in U.S. waters, it is uniquely Read more about Davidson Seamount: A Deep-Sea Oasis[…]

Denizens of the Deep: Are Brittle Stars the Best House Guests?

By Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute If you have ever seen a brittle star, you may have assumed that you were looking at the closely related starfish instead. Starfish and brittle stars are both members of the Echinodermata phylum, characterized by their radial symmetry – meaning that their bodies are organized into Read more about Denizens of the Deep: Are Brittle Stars the Best House Guests?[…]

Denizens of the Deep: How Sponges Create Important Habitats

By Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute When you think of a ‘sponge’, you may immediately picture the dish sponge you use to wash dishes or mop up spills. Did you know that sponges are also animals that occur throughout our world’s oceans and in some freshwater lakes and rivers? In fact, it Read more about Denizens of the Deep: How Sponges Create Important Habitats[…]

Pollution in the deep sea – are any habitats safe from human disturbance?

By Dr. Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute We’re all too familiar with the horrible images of once pristine beaches that are now covered with trash, threatening a wide array of charismatic animals including sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals. What about our ocean’s most remote habitat though – the deep sea? You may Read more about Pollution in the deep sea – are any habitats safe from human disturbance?[…]

Deep But Not Deserted – Exploring Deep-Sea Ecosystems Off the California Coast

By Dr. Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute In July 2018, Marine Conservation Institute staff scientist Samuel Georgian stepped on board the NOAA research vessel Bell M. Shimada, beginning a two-week expedition to explore deep-water coral and sponge habitats off the coast of northern California. In conjunction with NOAA’s Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Read more about Deep But Not Deserted – Exploring Deep-Sea Ecosystems Off the California Coast[…]

Expedition Planning 101 – How Models Can Help Guide Deep-Sea Exploration

By Dr. Sam Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute In May 2018, a joint Marine Conservation Institute and Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE) expedition will probe the deep seafloor within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to an astonishing diversity of cold-water corals and sponges that build crucial habitat Read more about Expedition Planning 101 – How Models Can Help Guide Deep-Sea Exploration[…]

5 Reasons Seamounts Matter

By Matt Coomer, Communications Coordinator at Marine Conservation Institute Seamounts are underwater mountains that rise from the seabed. Because most of the world’s seafloor is a muddy plain, seamounts are special deep-sea features that support unique creatures. Seamounts can arise along mid-ocean ridges, as isolated landmarks, or as volcanoes in chains and clusters. Off California, Read more about 5 Reasons Seamounts Matter[…]