Blyth-Skyrme et al. 2013

technical report |

Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems – potential candidates as essential fish habitat and habitat areas of particular concern

Blyth-Skyrme VJ, Rooney JJ, Parrish FA, Boland RC


Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) are light-dependent communities of corals, algae, sponges, and other organisms that exist at depths between approximately 30 m to 150 m. Little known until recently and understudied relative to shallower reefs, MCEs may contain significant coral reef ecosystem resources, including both luxuriant coral reefs and diverse fish communities. Research in the Pacific Islands Region over the last few years has produced data to facilitate a better awareness of the distribution and potential significance of MCEs, but they are still relatively unknown and remain absent from most coral reef ecosystem monitoring programs and management considerations. We synthesize results of research to map the distribution of benthic habitats and communities at mesophotic depths within the region and discuss them within the context of requirement to identify and manage essential fish habitat for managed species mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Depth range
5- 280 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
345 x (total of 13247 words)

* Presents original data
* Focused on 'mesophotic' depth range
* Focused on 'mesophotic coral ecosystem'

Community structure

Octocorallia (Soft Corals)
Scleractinia (Hard Corals)
Overall benthic (groups)

Micronesia - Guam
Micronesia - Mariana Islands
USA - Hawaii
American Samoa

Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV)
SCUBA (open-circuit or unspecified)
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
Drop / Towed Video
Sonar / Multibeam

Author profiles