The primary goal of the biology characterization breakout group was to identify the strategies, tools, data priorities, and key partnerships needed to conduct baseline biological characterizations of deep-sea benthic environments across the U.S. EEZ in the Pacific. Discussions focused primarily on priorities for the
characterization of deep-water (>200-meter depths) benthic biological communities; however, the group also emphasized that such characterizations need to be linked to efforts to characterize the overlying water column. The group was tasked with identifying how to prioritize exploration and characterization efforts, including how to identify priority geographic areas and specific methodologies needed to execute exploration activities. The expert community that provided input included representatives from various stakeholder groups actively working on deep-sea issues across the Pacific, including researchers and managers from government agencies, academic institutions, nongovernmental institutions, and the private sector. This report provides a summary of specific guidance identified as key for the successful exploration of deep-sea benthic habitats within the U.S. EEZ in the Pacific, as well as in adjacent international waters.