Sandra Brooke, Florida State University
My career in the deep sea began with my Ph.D., which was a joint venture between Harbor Branch Oceanographic in Florida, and Southampton Oceanography Center in England. I have since worked on deep-water coral ecosystems in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, the Norwegian Fjords, the Western Atlantic Margin and Gulf of Mexico. I also worked on chemosynthetic ecosystems, most recently the newly discovered methane seeps of the mid-Atlantic Bight.
Corals are important components of deep-sea hard-bottom habitats and like their shallow counterparts they are being impacted by various human activities. My research focus is on understanding their distribution, life history strategies and physiology, particularly how they respond to environmental stressors. I also work with Federal agencies and conservation entities to connect scientific information to the policy and outreach arenas. These efforts have contributed to protection of vast areas of deep coral habitats along the US Atlantic coast.
Through the Deep Search project, I will continue my research on life histories and physiology of deep corals, some of which form reefs and others that colonize rocky habitats, and cold seep fauna. The information generated by the Deep Search project will continue to protect vulnerable deep sea communities from human activities.