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StoryMap: Explore Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities Expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico

July 19, 2023

Learn about expeditions informing restoration of habitats injured in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

A screenshot of the NOAA mesophotic and deep benthic communities restoration StoryMap

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill injured deep-sea habitats over a large area. These complex ecosystems include corals, fish, anemones, sponges, and sea cucumbers—but our knowledge about these habitats is limited, creating challenges for their restoration.

From April through October 2022, NOAA and many collaborators embarked on eight scientific expeditions in some of the Gulf of Mexico’s deeper waters in the vicinity of the oil spill. The data gathered during these expeditions will advance restoration in some of the Gulf’s most inaccessible yet important habitats.

A colorful group of corals sits on the ocean floor with fish swimming around
A Roughtongue bass swims among a colorful group of gorgonian octocorals in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Credit: NOAA

Explore the StoryMap “Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities Expeditions” to learn more about this innovative work. The 2022 field season was the first of five planned for the Deepwater Horizon Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities restoration projects.The 2023 field season is now underway; we will update the StoryMap as more information on this year’s expeditions becomes available.

Last updated by Office of Habitat Conservation on August 25, 2023

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill