Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Reports

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Publication Date



Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Oil Spill, Mesophotic And Deep Benthic Communities (MDBC), National Centers For Coastal Ocean Science, Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), Office of Habitat Conservation, Southeast Fisheries Science Center


Two workshops with subject matter experts in the appropriate fields, were held in November and December 2021 to elicit guidance and feedback from the broader mesophotic and deep benthic scientific community. These workshops focused on best practices/approaches and identifying data gaps relative to habitat assessment and evaluation goals of the Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Community (MDBC) restoration portfolio. The first workshop was a combined effort of the Habitat Assessment and Evaluation (HAE) Project Team and the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Program. Industrial Economics, Inc. (IEc) provided extensive workshop planning, organizing, execution, and facilitation support during all stages of the workshop. Based on a questionnaire sent to scientists in August, 2021, the workshop focused on fish and mobile invertebrate habitat associations, abundance trends, community metrics, and food web functionality. Topical presentations and discussions focused not only on demersal fish and mobile invertebrates that are directly associated with mesophotic and deep benthic habitats, but also considered water column species and communities that benefit from these habitats more broadly. The second workshop, intended to complement the first workshop, focused on identifying best practices and critical information gaps for key community metrics, larval dispersal modeling, connectivity, effects and variability of environmental parameters, and recovery trajectories of corals, infauna, and other sessile invertebrates. Through literature review, internal HAE scientists considered these topics to be critical for restoration success. Products from the literature review included topical summaries (see Appendix B) that summarized the current state-of-the-science and provided the framework for the workshop. Information generated from the workshops will assist the MDBC HAE Project, and more broadly the DWH Program, identify data gaps and develop a suite of best practices for restoration activities.

Report Number

DWH MDBC Summary Report SR-22-01

Publication Title

Workshops Report for Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Community Fish, Mobile Invertebrates, Sessile Invertebrates and Infauna