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Extensive coral reef discovered at the mouth of the Amazon!

By Leonard Ho - Posted Apr 25, 2016 09:00 AM
Speaking of mesophotic reefs, scientists discovered a huge 700 mile long reef at the mouth of the Amazon river. The finding is extremely surprising since the Amazon dumps millions of gallons of muddy freshwater into the ocean here. The reef survives in a stratified seawater layer below this plume layer.


30 to 120 meters below the layer of muddy freshwater lives a wide range of reef fish (73 species recorded thus far) and invertebrates including sponges, crustacean, and corals such as Scolymia sp., Favia sp., and Meandrina sp. The light reaching the reef is even more diminished due to the top layer of turbid freshwater.  No one thought that a coral reef could possibly exist below this layer, but surprise, surprise, hundreds of reef species call this place home.  Obviously, the reefs here aren't as lush as those in the Indo-Pacific or Caribbean, but for a coral reef to exist here at all is pretty mind-blowing.

Unfortunately, oil exploration and drilling has already begun at some of these unique reef sites.  We have no word from the Brazilian government whether the new discovery will make them rethink the oil permits already sold.

The discovery is published in ScienceAdvances (open access).

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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