The world's most northern coral reef
Dominated mostly by the genus Favia, "the water in this bay is basically turbid" says Hiroya Yamano, a researcher at Japan's National Institute for Environmental Studies. He continues on to say: "Coral reefs have been believed to develop under warm-water settings — at least 18 degrees Celsius [64 degrees Fahrenheit] in winter. This setting is 13 degrees Celsius in winter [55 degrees Fahrenheit], which is unbelievably low. The species, and thus seascape, is completely different from normal reefs."
Yamano and his team are unsure how a reef could grow in such a cold environment but researching the Iki and Tsushima Island Reefs will lend insight on climate change, as the settling of warmer water species like Acropora have been documented over the past 20 years at both sites.
His findings were published July 12, 2012 in the online journal Geology.