Predicting suitable habitat for deep-sea corals in BC
Although the existence of deep-sea coral reefs has been known for centuries, it is only in the last decade that interest and understanding of these ecosystems have increased. There is a growing concern about the diversity and magnitude of anthropogenic (human) threats to these fragile habitats. Bottom trawling poses by far the largest threat. These corals are in need of protection, but a lack of basic information on the distribution and extent of deep sea corals in BC is constraining managers’ ability provide this protection. The project to be conducted by the intern and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, a wilderness protection organization, aims to fill some basic information gaps by determining the known distribution of deep-sea corals within the Canadian Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone, generating a model which uses environmental data to predict suitable habitat for the corals and identifying areas of interest and gaps in information that can help focus future research and conservation efforts.