Deep-water corals are some of the slowest growing, longest-lived skeletal accreting marine organisms. These habitat-forming species support diverse faunal assemblages that include commercially and ecologically important organisms. Therefore, effective management and conservation strategies for deep-sea corals can be informed by precise and accurate age, growth rate, and lifespan characteristics for proper assessment of vulnerability and recovery from perturbations. This is especially true for the small number of commercially valuable, and potentially endangered, species that are part of the black and precious coral fisheries (Tsounis et al. 2010). In addition to evaluating time scales of recovery from disturbance or exploitation, accurate age and growth estimates are essential for understanding the life history and ecology of these habitat-forming corals. Given that longevity is a key factor for population maintenance and fishery sustainability, partly due to limited and complex genetic flow among coral populations separated by great distances, accurate age structure for these deep-sea coral communities is essential for proper, long-term resource management.
|Title of host publication||The State of Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Ecosystems of the United States|
|Subtitle of host publication||2015 Report|
|Editors||Thomas F Hourigan, Peter J Etnoyer, Stephen D Cairns|
|Place of Publication||Silver Spring|
|Number of pages||22|
|Volume||NOAA Technical Memorandum X|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 2015|