A new scientific expedition has reportedly discovered a coral reef (that was previously unknown) with abundant marine life off Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, the nation’s environment ministry reported on Monday.
A unique, deepwater scientific expedition has found the first-ever pristine coral reef, approximately two kilometers long, at a depth of 400 meters, on the summit of a submarine mountain, Jose Davalos, the Environment Minister, posted on Twitter.
Scientists believed the only Galapagos reef that managed to survive the El Nino weather back in 1982 and 1983 was one known as the Wellington reef, lying along the Darwin Island coast. However, the discovery reflects other coral too has persisted, the ministry said in its statement.
The reef comprises over 50% of living corals.
This is essential at a global level since several deepwater systems have been degraded, stated Stuart Banks, a senior marine researcher associated with the Charles Darwin Foundation, who also took part in the expedition. The coral is at least several thousand years old at least.
Last year, the South American nation successfully expanded the Galapagos marine reserve by about 60,000 square km, an extension of the 138,000 square km in place, to safeguard endangered migratory species between the Galapagos and the Cocos Island based in Costa Rica.
The Galapagos, which happened to inspire Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, is home to giant tortoises, cormorants, albatrosses, and other species, some of which are now endangered.
Reference: Reuters, WHOI
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