Australian Scientists Discover Deep Sea Corals in Great Barrier Reef
A team of Australian scientists have discovered the deepest coral reefs that are living at a depth of 415 feet below the ocean surface at the Great Barrier Reef.
With the help of a deep sea robot finding specimen, researchers from the University of Queensland Seaview Survey revealed the presence of the common coral Leptoseris at a depth of 415 feet below the surface at Ribbon Reef.
RedOrbit quoted the project's chief scientist Ove Hoegh-Gulberg, who stated that corals were thought to exist at a depth of 230 feet, but this new finding helps in understanding how new reefs develop and grow.
"What's really cool is that these corals still have photosynthetic symibionts that supposedly still harvest the light," Hoegh-Guldberg told Agence France-Presse. "It's interesting to know how they can handle such low light conditions -- it's very deep dusk, you can barely make out much at the bottom."
The team will look at the role ocean acidification and warming plays in the newly discovered reefs. Reporting to AFP, the team assumes that the deep sea corals perform different functions as compared to those present in the shallow waters.
According to a study that was released in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last October, the Great Barrier Reef has noticed a great decline in the last 27 years. It is the altering climate conditions and the crown of thorns starfish that play a vital role in destroying the corals.