Updated: January 25, 2022 9:42:24 am
One of the largest coral reefs in the world has been discovered off the coast of Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean by a research team supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
The discovery of the giant rose-shaped corals, which CNN reported was made in November last year, suggests the existence of more large reefs in the ocean’s “twilight zone”, at depths of between 30 and 65 metres, according to a press release issued by the Unesco last week.
“This highly unusual discovery is a great leap forward for #science!” the UN body also tweeted.
The reef is unusual as the majority of the world’s known coral reefs are present at depths of up to 25m. It is also one of the most extensive healthy coral reefs ever recorded. It has an approximate length of 3 kilometres and a width between 30 m and 60/65 m. The diameter of the giant rose-shaped corals is up to 2 metres.
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The team went on diving for around 200 hours to study the reef, which plays a role in preventing coastal erosion and tsunamis, and also witnessed coral spawning.
The expedition was part of Unesco’s global approach to mapping the ocean and research on coral reefs aid study on biodiversity.
“It was magical to witness giant, beautiful rose corals which stretch for as far as the eye can see. It was like a work of art,” Alexis Rosenfield, French photographer and founder of the ‘1 Ocean campaign’ who led the mission, was quoted as saying by Unesco.
Here’s the video:
A scientific research mission supported by @UNESCO has discovered one of the world’s largest coral reefs off the coast of Tahiti.
This highly unusual discovery is a great leap forward for #science!
— UNESCO 🏛️ #Education #Sciences #Culture 🇺🇳😷 (@UNESCO) January 20, 2022
Twitter users marvelled at the discovery of the coral reefs and urged Unesco to protect “this precious coral from the scuba divers, tourists and jet skis.” “Wowwww it’s beautiful, nature surprises us again,” commented a user.
Wowwww it’s beautiful, nature surprises us again
— Patricia Adaros (@adaros_patricia) January 24, 2022
Please protect this precious coral from the scuba divers, tourists and jet skis. It won’t survive mass tourism and leisure.
— Helen🕷 (@HelenMagi) January 20, 2022
Experts welcomed the discovery and hoped for more such findings.
“French Polynesia suffered a significant bleaching event back in 2019 however this reef does not appear to have been significantly affected. The discovery of this reef in such a pristine condition is good news and can inspire future conservation. We think that deeper reefs may be better protected from global warming,” Dr Laetitia Hedouin, France’s National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS), was quoted as saying by Unesco.
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