Mesophotic Coral Ecosystem

If we talk about coral reef ecosystem, mostly in our mind is a part of coastal ecosystem that can be found in shallow water. But, did you know that some coral can live until 490 feet (150m) below the ocean surface? Also, did you know about the mesophotic zone? Here we’re giving some information about what is the mesophotic coral ecosystem (MCEs). This topic might be unfamiliar not just for common people, also for marine scientist especially in our country Indonesia. So, let’s talk about it.

Mesophotic (‘meso’ meaning middle and ‘photic’ meaning light) usually called as a “twilight zone” because of the transition between the brightly form shallow to dark for the deeper depth. Mesophotic coral ecosystem, are dominated by the presence of both light-dependent coral, algae, and organisms which can be found in water with low light penetration. The MCEs can be found in tropical and subtropical waters between 30 – 40 m (around 130 feet) up to 150 m (490 feet) depth.

Before, there were many limitations to learn about the MCEs because lack of technology to explore deeper depth. But recently, there are many scientists who are interested working in mesophotic coral ecosystem. They believed that the MCEs could be able as a lifeboat for shallow coral reef where this zone has more stable temperature rather than shallower depth also there are crossover for coral species from mesophotic to shallow or vice versa. They believed, these things could be a potential as coral restoration for shallow reef ecosystem.


Shigeo Reef, Sesoko Island, Okinawa, Japan
Shigeo Reef, Sesoko Island, Okinawa, Japan



  1. Baker, E.K., Puglise, K.A. and Harris, P.T. (Eds.). (2016). Mesophotic coral ecosystems — A lifeboat for coral reefs? The United Nations Environment Programme and GRID-Arendal, Nairobi and Arendal, 98 p.


Erlangga Diga (MDC 19)

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