Modeling Can Help Us Explore—and Save—Marine Life on Underwater Mountains, According to a New Scientific Report


Marine Conservation Institute announces a new scientific study detailing the need to protect biodiverse and sensitive deep-water ecosystems along the Salas y Gómez and Nazca ridges, seamount chains off the Pacific coasts of Peru and Chile. The study was published today by the peer -reviewed scientific journal PeerJ. Dr. Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute, created habitat and species models for the study, predicting the location of important marine life and revealing the value of math and modeling in exploring difficult-to-access ocean areas.

The research was carried out in collaboration with the Coral Reefs of the High Seas Coalition, a global alliance that aims to protect coral reefs in areas beyond national jurisdiction, also known as the high seas. Despite significant threats from overfishing, destructive bottomtrawling, pollution, climate change, and seabed mining, only 1.2% of the high seas is currently protected, and one half of that is protected minimally, leaving coral reefs and other sensitive habitats at risk of being irrevocably damaged. Since the high seas covers such a large area – more than 60% of the ocean’s surface – it is critical to understand which areas should be prioritized for protection. Habitat and species modeling can help scientists do that cost-effectively.

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