Scientists have discovered a giant coral reef hiding in the Amazon River! Reefs are notoriously delicate ecosystems comprised of many species of coral, fish, and other animals that have been suffering greatly from the effects of global warming, pollution and commercial fishing. Biologists believed that reefs could only thrive in areas with crystal clear salt water like off the coast of Australia, and that areas where rivers (like the Amazon River) meet with the ocean would be inhospitable for coral because of the high concentrations of fresh water and mud. However, this week we learned there might be some hope for coral reefs as a team of scientists have discovered an enormous one hiding at the mouth of the Amazon River! It seems this unique reef is able to survive the plumes of mud and fresh water dumped by the river into the sea. Sixty-one species of sponge, 73 types of fish, 35 species of algae, 26 soft corals, and 12 stony corals were identified by the team, and most of them are completely new species! Unfortunately, much of the area has already been purchased for oil drilling, so even this tough reef is in serious danger. Coral reefs are some of the most beautiful areas on the planet, and are critical to the survival of thousands of species of plants and animals, so I am hoping that we can make sure that this unique find can be protected and preserved now that we know it is there!
April 26, 2016