The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jan 03, 2013
 

Australian scientists discover deep sea corals

 
 

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian scientists mapping the Great Barrier Reef have discovered corals at depths never before thought possible, with a deep-sea robot finding specimens in waters nearly as dark as night.

A team from the University of Queensland's Seaview Survey announced the unprecedented discovery 125m below the surface at Ribbon Reef, near the Torres Strait and at the edge of the Australian continental shelf.

Dr Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, chief scientist on the project, told AFP on Thursday that coral had previously only been shown to exist to depths of 70m and the finding could bring new understanding about how reefs spawn and grow.

"What's really cool is that these corals still have photosynthetic symibionts that supposedly still harvest the light," Dr Hoegh-Guldberg told AFP.