Baseline Surveys of Deep-Water Demersal Communities in and Near Central Coast MPAs

R/MPA-3

This project will use a manned submersible to visually survey benthic communities in habitats deeper than can be effectively surveyed by divers or remotely operated vehicles. High-relief rocky habitats will be surveyed in three depth ranges: 30–100 meters, 100–200 meters, and 200–300 meters. Low-relief, soft-bottomed habitats, about which relatively little is known, will also be surveyed. Consistent with the other biologically oriented projects, the primary goal of this project is to collect data on deep-water habitat including fishes and macroinvertebrates, their relative abundances, sizes and trophic structures. When possible, long-term trends in species abundances, sizes and biomass will also be computed. Yet another goal is to identify biological hotspots within the MPAs, such as deep-water coral communities and fragile structure-forming invertebrates.