Months-long survey of Pacific seamounts compares protected, fished ecosystems

The Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) facilitated a three-month, National Science Foundation-funded expedition around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and Emperor Seamounts. This survey was aimed at documenting the effects of protection and fishing on the deep coral ecosystems around these islands and seamounts.

Terry Kerby, HURL submersible pilot of nearly 40 years, saw pristine ecosystems in the protected areas and areas of complete devastation where bottom trawl fishing had taken place. On 12 seamounts, Kerby and the HURL team expertly operated the two nimble submersibles, Pisces IV and Pisces V, and obtained over 120 km of survey data, and collected over 400 samples of dead coral for age dating and over 1,000 tissue samples to assess coral genetics.

Read more in the New York Times.