Three of our staff supporting NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science joined a team of nine other scientists on a 12 day expedition to collect deep-sea coral samples in the Gulf of Mexico. After completing 23 dives at 14 sites the team collected 36 live samples of coral, some of which have never previously been kept in an aquaria environment. The team also collected genetic samples, water samples for eDNA and aquaculture reference, and samples for microbiology and microscopy. The team transported the live coral samples to the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina where they will be studied for genetics, population connectivity, reproduction, and other important information that help scientists understand and protect coral reefs.

A boat in the middle of the ocean.
Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium for Ocean Research operates the research vessel Point Sur.
Orange coral polyps with small white tentacles along the tops.
Close-up of collected coral sample.
Two clear collection tubs separated into two sides containing orange branching corals in one side and darker branching coral in the other.
The team collected live coral samples and kept them alive on-board while being transported to the laboratory.

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