People, Environment

Secret Coral Reef Discovered

Secret Coral Reef DiscoveredSecret Coral Reef Discovered

An international team of researchers has discovered a 1,000-kilometer long coral reef sitting at the murky, muddy mouth of the Amazon River, stretching from the southern tip of French Guiana all the way to the state of Maranhao in Brazil, Science Alert reported. The reef remained undiscovered for so long because nobody thought to look for it at the outflow of the world’s largest river, which discharges up to 300,000 cubic meters of sediment-loaded water every second. In other words, the water is too murky to see the seafloor. The announcement comes at a time when scientists are losing hope for coral reefs everywhere — just last week reports emerged that 93% of the Great Barrier Reef has now been bleached, and large portions might not recover. Therefore, the discovery of a new reef is welcome news. One striking feature of the reef is its high densities of rhodoliths, a type of tennis ball-shaped red algae that is often confused with coral. Sponges are the other major component of the reef system, with 61 species found. The team also counted 73 fish species, 35 algae, 26 soft corals, 12 stony corals and more. The study appeared in Science Advances on Friday.