Scientists Discover Thriving Coral Reefs Under Oceanic Volcanoes

Scientists Discover Thriving Coral Reefs Under Oceanic Volcanoes
User Avatar
Updated 1 week ago

There are coral reefs all over the world, but a less-examined one in the Aeolians Islands, north of Sicily, has remained fairly mysterious until recently.

According to Inhabitat, a team of researchers from Oceana, a group that researches and works to protect ocean environments, launched an examination of the area, which is located under a chain of underwater volcanoes.

They were excited to discover rich areas of coral that were serving as a home to a number of endangered marine species. Their research robot uncovered new finds in every level of the ocean it could reach.

In the shallows, red algae beds were home to plants and animals like sea fans and horse mackerel. Deeper down, sharks were laying eggs in the coral beds. 

The corals themselves were remarkable; they included both red and yellow tree coral, which in the Mediterranean Sea, are both threatened species.

But on the bottom of the sea floor were the most astounding finds. At a depth of 10559.4 feet, the researchers discovered a type of coral on the endangered species list called "bamboo coral."

There were also a few species who have not been recorded before as living in the area, such as carnivorous sea sponges and sea squirts, as well as a sea star known as Zoroaster fulgens and a fish known for living in the nearby Adriatic Sea called a Goby fish.

This underwater paradise isn't completely removed from human influence. The robot also found evidence of pollution caused by fishing. Objects like abandoned traps, old nets, and fishing lines were abundant.

They also spotted dead marine life, including turtles and coral, who were harmed by this detritus. There was also the usual array of single-use plastic waste littering the ocean floor.

In a statement, the senior research director for Oceania, Ricardo Aguilar, said the discovery of this secret world means an obligation to do everything they can to save it.

“We have found tens of features that are internationally protected in the Mediterranean, from impressive coralligenous beds to loggerhead turtles and many species of corals and molluscs,” he said.  

“However, we also found widespread impacts of human activity, even in the farthest and deepest areas, and it is vital that we stop harming marine life if we are to preserve the uniqueness of this part of the Tyrrhenian Sea.”

The data and observations accrued during their exploration will help Oceana develop a plan to save the ecosystem, which is completely unique to the area. 

It is also ultimately just one leg in a much grander research expedition planned by the Blue Marine Foundation that will circumvent the marine world all around the islands. Who knows what they'll find next. 

RecircStyle7 Etsy Shops Full Of Cruelty-Free Skincare

These seven Etsy shops from around the world offer an impressive range of cruelty-free products you can feel good about putting on your face.

By Marissa Higgins
2 days ago
RecircNews72 Million New Homes Will Run On Solar Power By 2030

A new report shares why decentralized energy grids will power the homes of the future and make a major difference in the lives of those in developing countries currently with limited or zero access to electricity. 

By Koty Neelis
3 days ago
RecircNewsStarbucks And McDonalds Team Up To Create A Compostable To-Go Cup

Starbucks and McDonalds are working together to rethink to-go cups and inviting others to join them in creating eco-friendly packaging in an effort to reduce waste and environmental impact.

By Koty Neelis
3 days ago
RecircFoodMeat And Dairy Corporations Could Soon Beat Oil As World's Worst Polluters

A new report finds that meat and dairy producers are on track to surpass the oil industry's greenhouse gas emissions.

By Kristin Hunt
3 days ago
Stay Green
Sign up for our newsletter