Pristine coral reef unblemished by warming oceans found off Tahiti


PARIS (Reuters) – Scientists have found a pristine, 3-km (1.8-mile) lengthy reef of large rose-shaped corals off the coast of Tahiti, in waters considered deep sufficient to guard it from the bleaching results of the warming ocean.

The reef, which lies at depths of greater than 30 metres (100 toes), most likely took round 25 years to develop. Some of the rose-shaped corals measure greater than 2 metres in diameter.

“It was magical to witness large, stunning rose corals which stretch for so far as the attention can see. It was like a murals,” stated French photographer Alexis Rosenfeld, who led the crew of worldwide divers that made the invention.

Most of the world’s recognized coral reefs are in hotter waters at depths of as much as 25 metres, UNESCO stated. The reef off Tahiti lies within the “twilight zone” 30 to 120 metres beneath the floor the place there’s nonetheless sufficient gentle for coral to develop and reproduce.

Bleaching is a stress response by overheated corals throughout warmth waves throughout which they lose their color, with many struggling to outlive.

Perhaps essentially the most well-known – Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage-listed surprise – has suffered extreme bleaching to an estimated 80% of its corals since 2016.

The discovery off Tahiti’s shores suggests there could also be many extra unknown massive reefs in our oceans, on condition that solely about 20% of your entire seabed is mapped, in keeping with UNESCO scientists.

“It additionally raises questions on how coral reefs change into extra resilient to local weather change,” UNESCO’s head of marine coverage, Julian Barbiere, instructed Reuters.

More of the ocean ground wanted to be mapped to raised safeguard marine biodiversity, Barbiere stated.

“We know extra concerning the floor of the moon or the floor of Mars than the deeper a part of the ocean.”

(Reporting by Michaela Cabrera; Editing by Richard Lough and Mark Heinrich)

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