A UNESCO-supported research expedition has discovered one of the biggest deepwater coral reefs in the world off the coast of Tahiti.
The reef is located between 30m and 65m (98ft and 213ft) below the surface, and spans 3km (1.86 miles) long and between 20m and 60-65m wide.
Divers found rose-shaped corals up to 2m (6.56ft) in diameter.
The majority of the world’s known coral reefs can be found at depths of up to 25m (82ft), so finding a reef even deeper than that suggests the possibility that there are a lot more yet to be discovered, according to UNESCO.
Alexis Rosenfeld, a French photographer and expedition lead, said:
“It was magical to witness giant, beautiful rose corals which stretch for as far as the eye can see. It was like a work of art.”
And according to Laetitia Hedouin from France’s National Center of Scientific Research:
“French Polynesia suffered a significant bleaching event back in 2019 however this reef does not appear to have been significantly affected. The discovery of this reef in such a pristine condition is good news and can inspire future conservation. We think that deeper reefs may be better protected from global warming.”
(Featured Image credit: Alexis Rosenfeld/UNESCO/1 Ocean)