Erik Cordes is a Full Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Biology. He has worked on the ecology of the deep sea for 30 years, spent almost two years at sea on over 30 research cruises, and has made 47 dives in manned submersibles (including one to 6000 m depth).
He is a self-described ocean explorer and ecological oceanographer whose research is focused on deep-sea coral reefs, natural hydrocarbon seeps, and hydrothermal vents, as well as their conservation. Erik has organized and led expeditions to the east coast of the U.S., the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in the central Pacific. Among the Pool of Experts for the ongoing U.N. World Ocean Assessment, Erik Cordes is also a Trustee of the Deep-Sea Biology Society, and the Chair of the Offshore Energy Working Group of the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative. He actively collaborates with professional communicators, visual artists, film-makers, and musicians to bring the deep sea to the widest audience possible.
“ We now know that cold-water coral reefs form over hundreds-of-thousands of years and cover approximately twice the surface of the planet that shallow-water reefs cover, making them incredibly significant to the global ocean.”