The Great Barrier Reef Is Bleaching—but These Striking Deep-Sea Coral Gardens Near It Are Hanging on

Date: July 2, 2020

Source: Gizmodo Earther

The Great Barrier Reef has been having a rough year. Warm waters have led to record coral bleaching this year and could hasten the reef’s die-off. But while surface corals are suffering, nearly a mile beneath the surface, deep-sea corals near the Great Barrier Reef are thriving.

The coronavirus pandemic has complicated scientific research efforts, but a team with the Schmidt Ocean Institute remained one of the few to continue its valuable work during these strange times. Researchers worked remotely with a crew onboard a research vessel in Australia’s Coral Sea Marine Park from April to June to survey the depths as part of an effort to map the entire ocean floor by 2030. While studying the region, the scientists also discovered the deepest living corals in East Australia and up to 10 new species of snails, fish, and sponges. The corals, thankfully, are still bright with color, safe from bleaching that can cause coral to expel the algae that lives in symbiosis with them.

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