Feather star on gorgonian fan, Yasawa Island, Fiji.
Photo by Stacy Jupiter 2009/Marine Photobank

I smile o’er the wrinkled blue­
Lo! the sea is fair,
Smooth as the flow of a maiden’s hair;
And the welkin’s light shines through
Into mid-sea caverns of beryl hue,
And the little waves laugh and the mermaids sing,
And the sea is a beautiful, sinuous thing!

–from The Sea Spirit, by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Pic ‘o the week – Elphinstone Reef, Red Sea, Egypt

by alphonso gonzalez

A classic and lovely view of a vibrant coral reef in the Red Sea – to remind us of the dynamic and colorful underwater worlds of the Middle East, and to remind us to support the divers, dive operators and conservationists of the Middle East during these breathtaking and tumultuous days of revolution.

Photo by Alfonso Gonzalez
under Creative Commons

The Gulf’s deepwater corals

The New York Times has an excellent article today discussing state of science and research about deepwater corals in the Gulf of Mexico.

As we’ve blogged, the site of the BP oil disaster has been explored and mapped to some degree by NOAA – some of it funded by the Minerals Management Service.

During last fall’s deepwater expedition in the area, researchers were energized by the forests of deepwater Lophelia they found – it’s a type of coral that can be a vital foundation species to the health of the oceans. But much remains (remained?) to be discovered at depth there.

“We know 1 percent of what’s out there in deep waters — perhaps 1 percent,” said Dr. Billy Causey of NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries.

Lophelia pertusa, black coral (right), anemones, and squat lobster, Gulf of Mexico.
Image courtesy of Ian MacDonald, Lophelia II 2009 expedition.