Celebrating New York’s Seascape on World Oceans Day

Glass hydroids (Campanularia sp.) pictured along the Lizzie D shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean. Photo by © Keith Ellenbogen

By Jon Forrest Dohlin

You may not think that the words “metropolis and “corals” belong in the same sentence. So you might be rather surprised to hear that beautiful deep-sea coral communities can be found lurking just a few hours’ boat ride from New York City, one of most urbanized settings in the world. And that’s not all you’ll find. Our local ocean waters, in fact, serve as feeding grounds, nurseries, and migratory pathways for a wide variety of marine species, some of which are threatened or severely depleted.

Hundreds—even thousands—of feet below the surface, in the midnight zone where no sunlight penetrates, ancient and beautiful corals grow in thickets, isolated colonies, or as solitary individuals in deep, cold water in our area’s massive Hudson Canyon. Located 100 miles off the coast of New York City, this spectacular underwater formation – the size of the Grand Canyon – is the drowned bed of the Hudson River and extends hundreds of miles to the edge of the continental shelf.

Hudson Canyon—by far the largest of the East Coast’s canyons—provides crucial habitat for many marine species (including commercially valuable squid, tilefish, and lobsters) and supports legions of seasonally migrating whales, sharks, and tunas.

Glass hydroids (Campanularia sp.) pictured along the Lizzie D shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean. Photo by © Keith Ellenbogen

June 8 is the United Nations-designated World Oceans Day. It’s a day to contemplate just how vital our marine environment is to the biodiversity on planet Earth. Nowhere is that truer than in the local seascape of New York, where the abundance and diversity of marine wildlife and the health of our waters have been vital to both our local economy and our cultural life.

More than a quarter of a million local jobs depend on a healthy coastal and ocean —> Read More

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