The well-documented degradation of shallower reefs which are often closer to land and more vulnerable to pollution, sewage and other human-related stressors has led to the suggestion that deeper, more remote offshore reefs could possibly serve as sources of coral and fish larvae to replenish the shallower reefs. Yet, the distribution, status, and ecological roles of deep (>30 m) Caribbean reefs are not well known. In this report, an observation of a deep reef which has undergone a recent extensive loss of coral cover is presented. In stark contrast to the typical pattern of coral loss in shallow reefs, the deeper corals were most affected. This report is the first description of such a pattern of coral loss on a deep reef.
US Virgin Islands
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)