Scientists made their spectacular discovery when they explored Tahiti’s waters between 35 and 70 metres deep. Experts stressed that while coral reefs around the world are facing a health crisis due to rising water temperatures, the newly discovered reef is a specimen of health.
It looks like a giant rose garden reaching all the way to the horizon – said Julian Barbière of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
According to reports from researchers, the reef is spectacular and stretches for more than 3 km. In turn, at its widest point, the reef belt off the coast of Tahiti has a span that is as much as 70 meters. Interestingly, it is probably one of the largest coral reefs discovered at this depth.
French scientists who have studied the reef in Tahiti have also reported that it consists mainly of two coral species. At depths between 30-45 m, Porites rus dominates, while deeper down Pachyseris speciosa appears. Around 50-55 m, the second species begins to dominate and this condition persists until 70 m.
What most intrigued the researchers was the aforementioned condition of the corals. The corals seem to be perfect specimens of health, which is pleasing and surprising. The reef appears to be unaffected by the rising temperature of the oceans.
This is a very healthy reef and for a researcher is like a dream come true. In the midst of a biodiversity crisis, this is very good news – said Laetitia Hédouin from the French National Centre for Scientific Research.
The reef that the scientific team discovered at such great depths makes it possible to claim that it is not the only one. There could undoubtedly be many more in the world’s oceans. The researchers believe that the reef discovered off the coast of Tahiti may be one of the largest in the world to be found at such considerable depths. However, on the other hand, they stress that so far they have not looked for corals in these parts of the ocean.
Specialists from all over the world are trying to change this state of affairs by mapping new parts of the oceans. At the moment, only 20% of their surface is known, which shows how many similar surprises may await us in the near future. However, as well as mapping, exploring and discovering, it is also important to protect them. After all, it is coral reefs that are crucial to the health of waters around the world.
Photo: Alexis Rosenfeld
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