New corals discovered on UKs highest underwater mountain

Heriot-Watt scientists have discovered new populations of deep-sea corals growing on the slopes of the UK's highest underwater mountain, a site recently added to the list of Scotland's new Marine Protected Areas.

UK's highest underwater mountain

Standing at 1400 m above the surrounding seafloor, the Hebrides Terrace Seamount is the UK's highest underwater mountain (Beinn Nevis is 1344 m above sea level).

The deep-sea corals were discovered by a robot sub during the first-ever visual survey of the steep, sloping flanks of the Hebrides Terrace Seamount, an extinct, subsea volcano.

The corals support rich communities of other species and play a critical role in the life history of species that range far beyond the UK's shores, such as threatened deep-sea skates which lay their eggs on them.

Deep sea coral