Lesser et al. 2018

scientific review | Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics

Biodiversity and Functional Ecology of Mesophotic Coral Reefs

Lesser MP, Slattery M, Mobley CD


Mesophotic coral reefs, currently defined as deep reefs between 30 and 150 m, are linked physically and biologically to their shallow water counterparts, have the potential to be refuges for shallow coral reef taxa such as coral and sponges, and might be a source of larvae that could contribute to the resiliency of shallow water reefs. Mesophotic coral reefs are found worldwide, but most are undescribed and understudied. Here, we review our current knowledge of mesophotic coral reefs and their functional ecology as it relates to their geomorphology, changes in the abiotic environment along depth gradients, trophic ecology, their reproduction, and their connectivity to shallow depths. Understanding the ecology of mesophotic coral reefs, and the connectivity between them and their shallow water counterparts, is now a primary focus for many reef studies as the worldwide degradation of shallow coral reefs, and the ecosystem services they provide, continues unabated.

Meta-data (pending validation)
Depth range
30- 150 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
153 x (total of 8381 words)

* Focused on `mesophotic` depth range
* Focused on `mesophotic coral ecosystem`

Community structure

Algae (Macro, Turf and Crustose Coralline)
Porifera (Sponges)
Scleractinia (Hard Corals)


Author profiles
Michael P. Lesser ( 19 pubs)
Marc Slattery ( 17 pubs)