Recovery and restoration potential of cold‐water corals: experience from a deep‐sea marine protected area

Strong, James A. ORCID:; Piechaud, Nils ORCID:; De Clippele, Laurence H.; Bett, Brian J. ORCID:; Horton, Tammy ORCID:; Corbera, Guillem; Huvenne, Veerle A. I. ORCID: 2023 Recovery and restoration potential of cold‐water corals: experience from a deep‐sea marine protected area. Restoration Ecology.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
Restoration Ecology - 2023 - Strong - Recovery and restoration potential of cold‐water corals experience from a deep‐sea.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (11MB) | Preview


Cold-water corals (CWCs) are important species that provide habitat for other taxa but are sensitive to mechanical damage from bottom trawling. CWC conservation has been implemented in the form of marine protected areas (MPAs), but recovery from impact may be particularly slow in the deep-sea environment; consequently, the use of restoration techniques has been considered. To gain some insight into CWC recruitment and growth, in 2011 we deployed small seabed moorings in the Darwin Mounds MPA (~1,000 m water depth). This site hosts hundreds of CWC mounds, that had previously (until 2003) been impacted by deep-water trawling. In 2019, we carried out in situ visual surveys of these moorings and the surrounding seabed environment, then recovered two of the moorings. The mooring buoys, glass floats with plastic covers, were extensively colonized by a diverse epifauna that included the CWCs Desmophyllum pertusum and D. dianthus. The presence of coral recruits indicated that environmental conditions, and larval supply, remained favorable for the settlement and growth of CWCs within the MPA. Based on our observations, we consider four possible restoration methods, together with a “do-nothing” option, for the Darwin Mounds CWCs that have shown little, if any, natural recovery despite 16 years of protection. We conclude that seabed emplacement of high-relief artificial substrata is likely to be the most efficient and cost-efficient means of promoting enhanced recovery of the CWCs.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1061-2971
Date made live: 25 Jul 2023 11:54 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...