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The world's most northern coral reef

By Matt Stansbery Posted Aug 03, 2012 08:00 AM
The Northern Most reef in Japan is now even more North! The newly discovered Tsushima Island Reef is 43 miles north of the previous northernmost Iki Island Reef that was found back in 2001 off the coast of Japan.
The world's most northern coral reef

Favia colonies growing in unprecedented northernly waters. Photo by Kaoru Sugihara

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.

[via LiveScience]

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