The relatively recent and well-documented decline of coral cover among reefs around the world has stimulated numerous publications on coral reef ecology and in particular coral reef mortality. These studies have predominantly collected data from nearshore, shallow coral reefs. This concentration on shallow sites provides an incomplete and biased view of coral reefs because many reefs lie entirely or partially below this depth. In this report we quantified the bias of coral reef literature towards shallow reefs using a scientific literature survey. In addition, a case study based on data collected from a range of depths and distances from shore in the US virgin islands demonstrates that the deepest reefs farthest from shore have the highest live coral cover. Taken together, these data suggest that reefs with the most live coral cover are also the least studied.
Scleractinia (Hard Corals)
US Virgin Islands
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)