Reefs under threat
As with their tropical counterparts, cold-water reefs are under increasing threat due to human activity
Cold-water reefs have only recently started to be recognised as an important habitat type. As a result very little is known about them in comparison to their warm-water counterparts. It is not even certain exactly where all the cold-water reefs are in the Atlantic, as new ones are still being discovered every year.
Many cold-water reefs have suffered extensive damage from highimpact fishing methods, such as bottom trawling and long-line fishing. Both of these methods cause direct destruction of living and dead coral habitats, which take hundreds of years to recover. For example, it is estimated that up to half of the Norwegian shelf coral area has already been damaged by trawling. Other activities such as the laying of communication cables and oil exploration can also damage coral reefs.
Ocean acidification and climate change are other serious interlinked issues affecting both cold- and warm-water reefs. As levels of CO2 increase in our atmosphere more of this gas is absorbed by the oceans, making them become more acidic. This, in collaboration with warmer waters, can cause the old dead skeletons holding up the living reef structure to dissolve and become unstable.
The polar shrimp is a very resilient species and is found all around the Northern Hemisphere and at depths of up to 900m (2,952ft) RIGHT The grandly named great spider crab is found inparts of the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea and does indeed look a bit spider-like