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NC researchers launch deep-sea coral watch off US

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BEAUFORT, N.C. — Deep-sea researchers are leaving North Carolina on a mission to find places where sea creatures congregate.

The research ship Cape Hatteras leaves Beaufort on Tuesday for an eight-day voyage exploring coral reefs before fishing trawlers and dredging makes them extinct.

Researchers led by University of North Carolina at Wilmington marine scientist Steve Ross are out to map coral reefs where the ocean floor is between 1,600-feet and 2,600-feet deep.

The management of these newly discovered resources has become a hot topic among environmentalists and industries like fishing and oil.

Research team members come from UNC-Wilmington, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of South Florida, Scotland and the Netherlands.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Deep-sea researchers are leaving North Carolina on a mission to find places where sea creatures congregate.

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