Discovery Corridor

Map showing the extent of the Discovery Corridor
Map showing the extent of the Discovery Corridor
Project Summary:

The Discovery Corridor, a focused research effort to explore biodiversity in a particular swath of the Gulf of Maine, is a Canadian contribution to the Gulf of Maine Area Census of Marine Life.


While the Sloan Foundation is the first private foundation to undertake a global census of marine life, countries such as Canada have initiated their own efforts to better understand ocean habitats (“seascapes”) and biodiversity. The Discovery Corridor is focusing marine research on a single swath of ocean in an effort to expand existing biodiversity knowledge. This deeper understanding will provide the basis for exploration outside of the Corridor itself.

  • Funded by: Centre for Marine Biodiversity, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Healthy Oceans Network, and Census of Marine Life

Passamaquoddy Bay to the abyssal plain off the continental slope. (See figure at right).

Project Detail:

The Gulf of Maine Discovery Corridor is a pilot project begun under the auspices of the Three Oceans of Biodiversity: A Canadian National Plan 2004-2009. The plan called for the establishment of reference sites in each of Canada’s three oceans (the North Atlantic, the Arctic, and the North Pacific). The Gulf of Maine Discovery Corridor is the reference site for the North Atlantic. The concept of the Discovery Corridor includes making a census of marine life and furthering understanding of the processes that contribute to biodiversity.

The Discovery Corridor (shown above) extends from the lower Bay of Fundy across the Gulf of Maine, over the northeast tip of Georges Bank and the Northeast Channel, and out to the New England Seamount Chain. It was situated with two objectives in mind: 1) maximize known information, and 2) include a variety of habitats. The area extends from the land-sea margin to the abyssal plain, and thus includes coastal areas, offshore banks, submarine canyons, and seamounts.

This initiative is built from projects currently in progress, projects piggy-backed on others, and some new research initiatives.As these projects are completed, summaries will be added to this website.

More Information:

Centre for Marine Biodiversity

Discovery Corridor

Herder, E., and L. Van Guelpen. 2008. Compilation of research in the Gulf of Maine Biodiversity Discovery Corridor. World Wide Web electronic publication version 1.0/2008

Revealing a hidden realm: Canada’s first marine biodiversity corridor” (12:35 minute video)

Watanabe, S., A. Metaxas, J. Sameoto, P. Lawton. 2009. Patterns in abundance and size of two deep-water gorgonian octocorals, in relation to depth and substrate features off Nova Scotia, Deep–Sea Research I, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2009.09.003