See a Newly Discovered ‘Pristine’ Deep-Sea Coral Reef in the Galápagos

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown coral reef complex hundreds of metres below the surface of the sea surrounding the Galápagos Islands. The reef, which is thriving, was found by experts exploring a previously unmapped section of the seafloor with Alvin, a human occupied vehicle. Normally, deep-sea reefs have coral cover of just 10-20%, but this reef has approximately 50-60% live coral in many areas. Coral in the Galápagos region has been under threat from a 1982-83 El Niño-associated warming event, while industrial fishing and bottom trawling has exacerbated the impact of the change in temperatures. However, the finding of this reef suggests that other undiscovered and unthreatened communities could be present in the area.

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