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Capturing Imagery of Deep Coral Reef in TOTO

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Scientific diver Jeff Godfrey observes the highly diverse benthic communities associated with the undercut ledge at 185 fsw (feet sea water).


NGS/Waitt grantee Michael Lombardi and his team conducted a successful 2010 expedition to capture high-resolution still imagery of the deep fore reef in Tongue of the Ocean (TOTO), Bahamas, from 50 to +/- 120 meters, noting anomalous/dramatic geological formations associated with historic sea-level changes, as well as unique biological/ecological diversity of the deep reef ecosystem. The team successfully worked to more than 425 feet (130meters), and captured more than 500 images for scientific analysis. This is expedition was the first in a series that will continue through 2011.

The west margin of TOTO (east coast of Andros) is the third largest barrier reef system in the world, and still remains largely unexplored due to logistical constraints in the region. However, it has been noted that these deep reefs are incredibly rich in biological/ecological and geological diversity—and may even be sources for new medicines. Resulting imagery will be used in the ongoing development of a natural history portfolio of the Bahamas' deep reefs. These results will be used to inspire and catalyze future scientific work on deep reefs in the region. This work is also being organized for public display and exhibition, with the intent of bringing this novel environment to the public.

Additional resources for this project: