The Darwin Mounds, which contain patch reefs of Lophelia pertusa, were discovered by the scientific community in 1998. Evidence for significant trawling damage in the region of these rather unique coral reefs (L. pertusa inhabiting mobile sandy substrata instead of the more typical hard rocky substrata), and in 2004, was designated the first UK marine protected area (MPA), covering approximately 1380 kmĀ² of surrounding seabed. Partnerships between Greenpeace, oil and gas industry and UK governmental bodies such as the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Scottish Executive were instrumental in the discovery and progression of the Darwin Mounds to MPA status.