A new coral reef has been discovered in the Galápagos Marine Reserve, with between 50% to 60% live coral in some areas. This is considered to be a particularly rare occurrence, with live coral coverage usually being much lower.
Co-lead of the expedition and Chair of the Deep-Sea Biology Society Dr Taylor opened up about the exciting new discovery: "The discovered reefs are novel for several reasons – in shallow reefs where finding 10-20% of coral cover would be considered a relatively unhealthy reef, in the deep-sea this is the norm. Dead coral skeletons making up the remaining 80-90% still provide homes for a huge diversity of life, which is less reliant on the live sections of coral. However, the reefs we’ve found in the last few days have 50-60% live coral in many areas, which is very rare indeed." He also added that the reef is "pristine and teeming with life – pink octopus, batfish, squat lobsters and an array of deep-sea fish, sharks, and rays."
The discovery of the new reef will allow scientists to keep tabs and continue to protect coral reefs and oceans as best as they possibly can. However, this isn't the only exciting coral reef discovery. In Australia, parts of the Great Barrier Reef are now seeing their highest coral coverage rates in 36 years, another encouraging statistic, sparking hope for the future of reefs across the globe. Scientists have also seen success with coral IVF.
Protecting coral reefs is important, as they act as a food source and help to provide a thriving habitat for ocean life. These are just a few of many reasons as to why this discovery is so exciting.