Massive Coral reef discovered at Amazon river mouth

American and Brazilian researchers collected this sponge sample as well.

Courtesy: CNN

  • A huge 3,600 sq mile (9,300 sq km) coral reef system has been found below the muddy waters off the mouth of the river Amazon by a team of scientists from Brazil and the United States, according to a report published in the Journal Science on 22-04-2016.
  • The 600-mile long reef, which ranges from about 30-120m deep stretches from French Guiana to Brazil’s Maranhão state along the edge of South America’s continental shelf.
  • This discovery came as a surprise to many scientists and oceanographers because large rivers produce major gaps in reef systems due to unfavorable conditions such as salinity, pH and light penetration where no corals grow.
  • However, this coral reef system seems to be healthy, according to the study.

Background

  • Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals.
  • Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients.
  • Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups.
  • Researchers also found evidence suggesting this coral reef may already be threatened.
  • Ocean acidification, ocean warming and plans for offshore oil exploration right on top of the coral reef pose major environmental challenges putting the coral reef in grave danger.

– News Item compiled by Dharma Teja

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