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A giant coral reef discovered off Tahiti


Scientists have discovered a giant, healthy, rose-shaped coral reef more than 30 meters deep off the coast of Tahiti,...

Scientists have discovered a giant, healthy, rose-shaped coral reef more than 30 meters deep off the coast of Tahiti, an important discovery as coral reefs suffer from climate change.

Read alsoThe very contrasting health report of French corals

"It is one of the largest coral reefs in the world to be more than 30 meters deep,"

said Unesco in a statement, which supports this scientific mission.

"The pristine condition of the rose-shaped corals and the extent of the area they cover make this a very unusual discovery



says Unesco.

The reef extends over three kilometers long and between 30 and 65 meters wide, between 35 and 70 meters deep, specifies Unesco.

Some giant corals are two meters in diameter.

"It's an underexplored area.

What we know well are the areas between zero and 30 meters”

, explains to AFP Laetitia Hedouin, marine biologist and specialist in corals, from the French research center CNRS and the environmental research organization CRIOBE.

“These corals do not show signs of stress or disease

,” she continues, while corals closer to the surface in French Polynesia experienced a bleaching episode in 2019. Starfish can also ravage corals by devouring them.

Read alsoDisappearance of 14% of coral in the world between 2009 and 2018

The diving expedition took place in November 2021, thanks to specific diving equipment to go down that far.

“The team carried out dives totaling around 200 hours to study the reef and were able to witness the spawning of the coral”

, specifies Unesco. Temperature sensors have been placed in the area.

"We are at the start of a monitoring program that we hope will be long-term"

, to better understand why this coral reef has visibly not suffered from climate change and what its population dynamics are.

This discovery also raises the question of

“taking into account these deep zones in the development of marine protected areas”

, underlines Laetitia Hedouin.

“The state of knowledge of the oceans is still limited, with only 20% of the seabed of the planet (…) mapped”

, underlines Unesco.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-01-20

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