TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (1): 94-100.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.002802

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A Review of Recent Research on Cold-Water Coral Reefs

ZHAO Meixia1,YU Kefu1,2   

  1. (1.Key Laboratory of Marginal Sea Geology,South China Sea Institute of Oceanology,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Guangzhou 510301,China; 2.a.Coral Reef Research Center of China;b.School of Marine Sciences,Guangxi University,Nanning 530004,China)
  • Online:2016-01-05 Published:2016-01-05

Abstract: Coral reefs are generally associated with shallow tropical seas; however, there are widespread and diverse coral ecosystems in deep waters on continental shelves, slopes, seamounts and ridges around the world. Cold-water corals have been known since the 18th century, but much fewer studies have been performed on deep-sea coral reefs compared with on tropical coral reefs. Along with the applications of modern submersibles and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to deep ocean exploration activities, more and more studies have been conducted and deep-sea coral reefs have become a research hotspot recently. This review includes: 1) the diversity and biogeographical distribution of cold-water corals; 2) the growth characteristics of corals and related environmental controls; 3) the initiation and development of deep-sea coral reefs; 4) the response of corals to ocean acidification; 5) corals as valuable archives for paleoceanographic reconstructions. It also highlights the future research directions of cold-water coral reefs in the South China Sea.

Key words: cold-water coral reefs, cold-water coral, ocean acidification, environmental control