A recently published book, Cold-Water Coral Reefs of the World, offers “the most comprehensive and wide-ranging investigation of cold-water corals to date” and includes significant contributions from iAtlantic researchers across five key chapters.
The book examines global hotspots for cold-water corals, looking at recent discoveries and charting a path for future research on the critical role that these corals play in ocean health and the global ecosystem. iAtlantic research features in four chapters: ‘Life and Death of Cold-Water Corals Across the Mediterranean Sea’, ‘Cold-Water Coral Reefs in the Oxygen Minimum Zones off West Africa’, ‘Waters of Ireland and the UK’ and ‘Biology, Ecology, and Threats to Cold-Water Corals on Brazil’s Deep-Sea Margin’. Additional contributions from iAtlantic scientists appear in the opening chapter, ‘A Global View of Cold-Water Coral Reefs of the World’.
“The joys of working on a book like this is the opportunity to collaborate with academics from many different fields to bring this invisible world to light,” said Sebastian Hennige, a Senior Lecturer at the Univertsty of Edinburgh School of Geosciences, who led work on the chapter describing the waters of Ireland and the UK. “In addition to chapters focused on specific coral regions, the book takes a look historic and forward look at what we know and where we can focus future efforts.”
This new publication comes 150 years after the legendary HMS Challenger mission, on which the discovery of deep-sea and cold-water corals was first recorded. Based on decades of scientific enquiry, it represents a ‘quantum leap’ in understanding not only cold-water coral reef habitats, but the specific oceanic conditions – on the surface, in the water column and at the seabed – that support their growth and development. Focusing on nine hotspots around the world, the book highlights not just how widespread cold-water coral reefs are, but illustrates similarities and differences between ocean basins and hemispheres.
“I am delighted to have had the opportunity to not only consolidate the knowledge on Brazilian deep-sea corals, but also to be able to add much-needed insights into their ecology and conservation” said Angelo Fraga Bernardino, Associate Professor of Oceanography at Universidade Federal do Espirito Santo in Brazil, who contributed to the chapter looking at global cold-water coral reef distribution as well as the chapter specifically on cold-water coral communities on the Brazilian margin.“In this work we provided a lot of new information on the distribution of coral records, but also included analysis of the environment the corals live in and what to expect in times of warming and acidification in the South Atlantic. So I think this is a must-read work for all of those interested in deep-sea corals!”
The book confronts the challenges facing cold-water coral reefs and examines anthropogenic impacts on these delicate ecosystems, seeking to understand the pressures and drivers of change that threaten a habitat we’re only just now beginning to fully appreciate.
“The results in this book show that people, from scientists to policymakers, are ready for a new era during which we will move from understanding the ecological importance of cold-water coral reefs and the threats they face, to actively restoring them,” writes iAtlantic Coordinator J Murray Roberts in the foreword to the book. “We simply cannot lose cold-water coral reefs as we begin to understand just how important they are.”
Cold-Water Coral Reefs of the World is published as part of a wider book series Coral Reefs of the World, which presents the status of knowledge of the world’s coral reefs authored by leading scientists.
Full reference: Mienis F. & Cordes E. (eds) (2023) Cold-Water Coral Reefs of the World. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-40897-7