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11:00 – 11:30 AM EST: Hiding in the Deep: Studying Newly Discovered Marine Ecosystems in the Galapagos Marine Reserve

Salome Buglass, Ph.D. Candidate, The University of British Columbia and Charles Darwin Foundation

The Galapagos Marine Reserve, was one of the largest Marine Protected Areas on earth, formed to protect its high levels of marine biodiversity and endemicity. Over 90% of its marine habitats lie in deep waters, beyond the reach of traditional scuba diving, and thus remain largely unexplored. Since 2015 the Seamount Research Project has been dedicated to exploring and describing the unknown biodiversity and habitats that exist in deeper waters. Among the most exciting discoveries has been finding deep-sea cold-water reefs, sponge gardens and mesophotic kelp forests. In this presentation, Salome will share how some of these discoveries came to be, the latest findings on describing these novel communities and some of the future research projects coming forth as a result of the discoveries so far.