A Newly Discovered Deep-Sea Coral Garden Could Unlock the Ocean's Secrets

A Newly Discovered Deep-Sea Coral Garden Could Unlock the Ocean’s Secrets

by Brian Kahn, Gizmodo Earther

Australia’s most famous coral resides on its Pacific coast. The Great Barrier Reef is amazing, to be sure, and a bellwether of how climate change is impacting reefs around the world.

But there’s a reef hidden in the depths of the Southern Ocean off Australia’s south coast that could unlock a much more profound secret about climate change and the entire ocean. And until recently, it remained completely unexplored.

Over the course of a month, a team of researchers probed the deep-sea canyons that jut out from Australia’s southern continental shelf like fingers plunging into the chilly Southern Ocean. Delicate corals exist in the waters that may only reach 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), clinging to the walls of the canyons and crawling over plateaus. The researchers on the R/V Falkor sent a remote operated vehicle (ROV) down to those depths to collect samples of both living and fossil corals while capturing stunning 4K video from the deep sea. Researchers had a good guess these unique ecosystems were sitting at the bottom of the sea in the area after a 2015 expedition in somewhat nearby Perth Canyon, but it was a crapshoot of just what exactly they would find.

Read the full article here…

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