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February 11, 2022

In 2019 a coral bleaching event attacked 50 to 60% of the coral reefs surrounding French Polynesian islands Tahiti and Moorea. Bleached coral was observed as deep as 100 meters, stripping the reef of its nutritional algae (food and habitat for various marine animals). Yikes!

Huge healthy reef discovered after the bleaching event...

The good news? A team of researchers led by French Explorer and photographer Alexis Rosenfield have recently discovered a new reef off the coast of Tahiti that appears healthy and unharmed by the bleaching event. They believe that this is possibly because the reef is deeper and protected against warmer waters and human activity (overfishing, pollution, and tourism).

The reef is 30 to 65 meters deep, 3 kilometres long, and made up of rose-shaped structures. The divers spent 200 hours studying, capturing images, and witnessing it spawn (part of their reproduction process).

The importance of the discovery...

Reefs must stay intact, as they sustain roughly 25% of all marine species. They are a vital protector against storms, tsunamis and are even a resource for some medicines!

This discovery proves how much there is yet to learn about our beautiful ocean and that more mapping of the ocean floor is required to develop a framework for sustainable ocean management.

UNESCO, the United Nations agency responsible for oceans, aim to have the worlds ocean mapped in high resolution by 2030. So far they are at 20%! Amazing!

A story that provides hope of huge healthy reefs yet to be discovered. Spread the word and share this blog with your ocean-loving bestie!


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