Occurrences of Habitat-forming Deep Sea Corals in the Northeast Pacific Ocean

Date: December 1, 2005

We define habitat-forming deep-sea corals as those families of octocorals, hexacorals, and stylasterids with species that live deeper than 200 m, with a majority of species exhibiting complex branching morphology and a sufficient size to provide substrata or refugia to associated species. We present 2,649 records from eleven institutions on eight habitat-forming deep-sea coral families, including octocorals in the families Coralliidae, Isididae, Paragorgiidae and Primnoidae, hexacorals in the families Antipathidae, Oculinidae and Caryophylliidae, and stylasterids in the family Stylasteridae. The data are ranked according to record quality. We compare family range and distribution as predicted by historical records to the family extent as informed by recent collections aboard the National Oceanic of Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration 2002 Gulf of Alaska Seamount Expedition (GOASEX). We present a map of one of these families, the Primnoidae.

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