Invitation for a collaborative project on mesophotic reefs

   2017, October 18
Posted by Joe Turner

Posted by:
Announcement keywords

“Invitation for a collaborative project on mesophotic reefs”

This is an invitation to collaborate on a project to identify the key questions revolving around Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems (MCEs) and Temperate Mesophotic Ecosystems (TMEs) in order to increase the ability to make effective conservation and management actions globally. This information will be used to drive conversations at the upcoming mesophotic reef workshop at the European Coral Reef Symposium (ECRS) in Oxford, UK. We greatly encourage you to contribute even if you are not attending the workshop.

As we enter the Anthropocene era marine systems, and coral reefs, in particular, are facing an escalating threat from a suite of pressures including climate change in particular. The future of coral reefs now depends on building innovative partnerships, redefining management goals, and building institutions for effective governance. In order to do this appropriately and effectively, researchers and policymakers must have a detailed understanding of the ecosystem in question and human interactions with them.

MCEs lie at depths beyond those typically associated with tropical coral reef ecosystems (30-150m). MCEs can harbor diverse biological assemblages of corals, fish, and other invertebrates. Some species are highly endemic to these systems, highlighting MCE’s importance in contributing to and maintaining global biodiversity. Similarly, high-diverse coral-dominated ecosystems are also present in the twilight zone of temperate seas, such as the Mediterranean. MCEs are a relatively new ecosystem in terms of scientific research interest where, as a result, our knowledge of these systems is limited and localized to specific geographic locations. Many key questions currently remain unanswered, where obtaining an answer can be particularly challenging especially as marine research is expensive and logistically difficult, particularly in the case of MCEs.

Research prioritization exercises have proved to be useful tools for emerging scientific disciplines and have been utilized in conservation-related fields. High participation exercises and workshop projects help create agreement on the most important issues that need answering to address management of conservation problems. This exercise is designed to identify questions that, if answered, would greatly increase the ability to make effective conservation and management actions globally. We draw your attention to the papers by Sutherland et al. (2013) and Parsons et al. (2014) as examples of the type of work we are looking to emulate.

The aim of this study is to create a list of questions to prioritize research topics. Participants are encouraged to take the following into account while thinking of questions:

  • Question must be of global importance
  • The current lack of an answer must be impeding a wider understanding of MCE processes or management/conservation progress
  • Question is answerable through a realistic research design
  • Should not be answerable by a simple Yes / No
  • The answer should be factual, and not based on a value judgment, with a measurable outcome.

If you are willing to support this study, please fill out our Google Form by FRIDAY 3RD NOVEMBER.

You will be appropriately acknowledged for your contributions. We envisage the output to consist of a peer-reviewed publication, where authorship will be considered based upon the attached criteria.

If you have any questions with regards to this exercise then please feel free to get in touch with Joe Turner (

We thank you in advance for your time,

Many thanks,

Joe Turner, Dom Andradi-Brown, Andrea Gori, and Gal Eyal.

Links: Survey form / Authorship requirements / Example: Parsons et al. 2014 / Example: Sutherland et al. 2011