Did you know that more people have been on the moon than to the very bottom of the sea? Science is hard to do at such depths, which is a problem for deep sea animals – it’s hard to look after something if you don’t know much about it!
We wanted to know how seamounts (underwater mountains) affect the populations of two species of deep sea coral. Can they act as “stepping stones” helping the corals to disperse (spread) throughout the sea?
We used clever genetic analysis to unlock information hidden in the corals’ DNA and found that this was true for one species, but not for the other. We believe that ocean currents are also important in how corals disperse. This new information can help us to protect these important animals (and others!) in the future.