scientific article | Diversity
Hoarau L, Rouzé H, Boissin E, Gravier-Bonnet N, Plantard P, Loisil C, Bigot L, Chabanet P, Labarrère P, Penin L, Adjeroud M, Mulochau T
Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems (MCEs)—specifically the lower mesophotic zone (60–150 m depth)—are poorly studied with respect to shallow reefs. Yet, this deep zone harbors distinct benthic communities that are adapted to low light levels which may provide refugia for an underestimated biodiversity. The lower mesophotic zone was recently investigated across Reunion Island coasts (Southwest Indian Ocean) using closed circuit rebreathers. Dense aggregations of Scleractinian Leptoseris spp. and rare hydrocorals Stylaster flabelliformis were found at 75–100 m on lava flows highlighting the distinctness of MCEs and supporting the high potential of deep refugia for an underexplored biodiversity.