via University of Granada

AUS - Researchers Discover a New Coral Reef in Australia's Great Barrier Reef—the First Such Discovery in 120 Years

A researcher from the University of Granada (UGR) is co-leading a geological and biological research campaign that is being carried out at Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR)—the largest coral reef in the world.

Geologists, biologists, and marine ecologists from various Australian universities and research centers are participating in the campaign.

The research vessel Falkor has been the focal point of this expedition, starting out on September 30 and continuing until November 17. The work is being funded by the Schmidt Ocean Institute, a not-for-profit organization devoted to advancing and disseminating knowledge about the world's oceans.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions currently imposed, only a small number of researchers, all of whom are Australian, are physically allowed on board the vessel this year. However, a novel feature of the research is that a large proportion of the team is successfully operating remotely, thanks to the technical resources with which the Falkor is equipped. One team member is Ángel Puga Bernabéu, a researcher at the UGR's Department of Stratigraphy and Paleontology, who is co-directing this campaign remotely from Granada.

Puga explains one particularly important new addition to the knowledge-base regarding the GBR: "On October 21, the Falkor discovered a new 'detached' reef, measuring 500 meters high off the seafloor. Its shallowest part, measuring 300 meters long and 50 wide, is located at a depth of about 40 meters [IMAGE 7]." This new reef is the first to be discovered in the GBR in 120 years.

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