The review process on this publication was very rigorous because our results demonstrate injuries to corals from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill over a potentially large area.
Realizing that the pathology we were seeing in these corals was very similar to what had been reported for corals at ~1500m depths over 150 km away.
The Alabama Alps Reef site--because it is such a diverse setting and also because I had done work there about 15 years earlier as a young scientist and was able to use the earlier results as a baseline.
The research cruise was sponsored by the NOAA National Resource Damage Assessment program. Ken Sulak was the chief scientist. My graduate student Mauricio Silva did a huge amount of work and we were also helped by Peter Etnoyer, a coral scientist with NOAA. Mauricio Silva's PhD research has been supported in part by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative ECOsystem impacts of Oil & Gas Inputs to the Gulf consortium.
Our point survey technique is a robust and efficient method for ROV surveys of reef sites.
Mauricio Silva is completing another paper modeling the extent of mesophotic coral habitat in the northern Gulf. I've chosen to provide photos that capture the diversity and beauty of this setting, rather that the extensive injury that we document in the actual paper. This is what we hope to preserve through this work and our continuing research.
Coral injuries observed at Mesophotic Reefs after the Deepwater Horizon oil discharge | article
Silva M, Etnoyer PJ, MacDonald IR (2016)
Deep-Sea Res Part II 129:96-107