“This is one of the largest coral reefs in the world at a depth of more than 30 meters,” said a statement from UNESCO, which supports the scientific mission. “The pristine condition of the rose-shaped corals and the extent of the area they cover make this a most unusual discovery.”
The reef is three kilometers long and between 30 and 65 meters wide, at a depth of 35 to 70 meters, it sounds further. Some giant corals have a diameter of two meters.
‘Little explored area’
“It’s a little explored area, because we mainly know the areas between zero and 30 meters well,” said Laetitia Hedouin, a marine biologist and coral specialist from the French research center CNRS and the environmental research organization Criobe. She further emphasizes that the corals show no signs of stress or disease.
The diving expedition took place in November 2021. Temperature sensors were also placed throughout the area, enabling long-term monitoring. In this way, scientists will gain a better understanding of the effects of climate change on the coral reef.
Knowledge of the oceans is still limited: only 20 percent of the seabed of the planet has been mapped, according to UNESCO.
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