We recently blogged about a stunning underwater discovery made by researchers at the mouth of the Amazon. When a “big old dredge, tadalafil ” procured by Associate Professor Patricia Yager’s alma mater broke the surface of the Amazon River for the second time, the expedition team was awestruck. Up came bits of glittering coral, sponges, and starfish. The group had made an amazing discovery that had been hidden in the dark currents of the Amazon for millennia. A thriving reef existed, beneath some of the muddiest water in the world.
The timeless adage that things are often not as they appear rings true in this story. Flying overhead, the Amazon River is brown and murky with minimal transparency. But what is going on underneath is dramatically different. Below the dark veil is a world vibrant with color, shape and movement that is breathtaking to behold. What is equally breathtaking is the size of this ecosystem. From French Guinea to the Brazilian state of Maranhao, the reef spans an incredible 3,600 square miles!
Yager told reporters, “We brought up the most amazing and colorful animals I had ever seen on an expedition.” The team unearthed 73 species of fish, over 60 species of sponges, spiny lobsters, stars and other reef life. One sponge was the size of a baby elephant! While many life forms are similar to those found in Australia and Canada, the fact that this reef exists at all makes their discovery very special. (Find information about challenges that may threaten this marine life.)
The finding of this immense reef will provide a new and fascinating venue for scientific research. Now designated as the most northerly reef in Brazil, the specimens identified here suggest that this system operates as a kind of bridge between the Brazilian and Caribbean reefs. Typically, in a large river like the Amazon, unfavorable conditions such as salinity, pH and light penetration will create gaps in reef distribution. But this coral reef system appears to be thriving despite the challenging conditions.
The unexpected discovery of this massive reef has answered some questions while provoking many more. Find even more information about this find in National Geographic.
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