Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems: A lifeboat for coral reefs?

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (2016)

Picture a coral reef — most people will probably imagine brightly coloured corals, fish and other animals swimming in well-lit shallow waters. In fact, the coral reefs that live close to the surface of the sea — the ones that we can swim, snorkel, or dive near and see from space — are only a small portion of the complete coral reef ecosystem. Light-dependent corals can live in much deeper water (up to a depth of 150 m in clear waters). The shallow coral reefs from the surface of the sea to 30–40 m below are more like the tip of an iceberg

they are the more visible part of an extensive coral ecosystem that reaches into depths far beyond where most people visit. These intermediate depth reefs, known as mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs), are the subject of this report.