An international group of scientists has found a new resident inhabiting the tip of the forest’s namesake river.
Researchers from the University of Georgia, Brazil’s State University of North Fluminense, and the University of Rio de Janeiro, located a new reef system at the mouth of the Amazon river.
The reef stretches 9,500 square kilometers, reported Gizmodo. It initially evaded detection because it was located in the Amazon plume, which is an area where freshwater and salty ocean water meet generating sediment that suppresses light and oxygen levels.
The team started their investigation by using multibeam acoustic sampling, a technique used to map seabeds, along with analyzing samples from the ocean floor. An additional expedition performed in 2014 to the same site in 2014 helped them confirm their findings, according to UGA Today.
Another intriguing aspect of this discovery is the exotic ecosystem housed within the reef.
Patricia Yager, Ph.D., an associate professor at UGA and one of the authors of the study described the coral’s environment to UGA Today: “”In the far south, it gets more light exposure, so many of the animals are more typical reef corals and things that photosynthesize for food. But as you move north, many of those become less abundant, and the reef transitions to sponges and other reef builders that are likely growing on the food that the river plume delivers. So the two systems are intricately linked.”
Other coral reefs of this nature have popped up off the coast of Australia and British Columbia, but all of these constructs may be in danger due to ocean acidification and potential oceanic oil exploration.
The study was published in the journal Science Advances.
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