An underwater Seamount (Mountain) that is 1.5 times the size of the Eiffel Tower was discovered within the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The Seamount is teeming with life in the form of vast coral reef systems that sustain a...
An underwater Seamount (Mountain) that is 1.5 times the size of the Eiffel Tower was discovered within the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The Seamount is teeming with life in the form of vast coral reef systems that sustain a diverse population of underwater life such as gorgonians, cuttlefish, and large sharks to name a few. The discovery boosts the diversity and health of the Great Barrier Marine Park that has had a tough time over the past few years.
Climate change has caused sea surface temperatures to rise in the area to a point where 93% of the corals bleached a few years ago. The increase in the number of days where the air temperature was above 40C helped increase the water temperature, which causes the corals to bleach.
Corals have phytoplankton called zooxanthellae that live inside the coral skeleton and undergo photosynthesis to survive while their byproducts (O2 and Ca+ ions) help build the corals calcium skeleton. The zooxanthellae can only handle a certain amount of heat and will leave the coral if the temperature is too hot. Once the phytoplankton leaves, the coral loses its colour that causes it to bleach. If the zooxanthellae don't return or repopulate, then the coral animal will eventually die.
The corals on the newly discovered Seamount are in good health and have not been affected by the warmer sea surface temperature as the Seamount reaches its summit at 40 metres in depth (over 100 feet), where it doesn't rely on the sun to survive.
The corals are probably also in good health because they fall within the boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park where it has been protected for the past number of decades.
Do you think this reef will continue to be protected because it falls within the Marine Protected Area boundary?
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