Using a remote-operated submersible, my colleagues and I discovered five species of black coral at a depth of 2,500 feet (760 m) in the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea off the coast of Australia. Black corals are found growing in shallow water to depths of 26,000 feet (8,000 m).
Washington. (The Conversation) Using a remotely operated submersible, my colleagues and I have discovered five species of black coral at a depth of 2,500 feet (760 m) in the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea off the coast of Australia. Black corals are found growing in shallow water to depths of 26,000 feet (8,000 m), and some corals have a life span of over 4,000 years. Many of these corals look like fins and bushes, while others look like flakes.
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Unlike other corals found in shallow water, they depend on sunlight and photosynthesis for energy. I and a team of Australian scientists used the Smid Ocean Institute’s remotely piloted vehicle—a submersible named Subastine—to explore the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea in 2019 and 2020. Our goal was to collect samples of coral found in depths ranging from 130 feet to 6,000 feet. In the past, corals in the deeper part of the region were collected using methods that often destroyed them. We launched a robot into the deepwater ecosystem, allowing our team to collect deep-sea corals in their natural habitat.
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During 31 dives, my colleagues and I collected 60 species of black coral. We used robots to carefully separate the corals from the sand bed or reef, place the corals in a pressurized, temperature-controlled storage box, and bring them up to the surface. We will investigate the physical characteristics of corals and sequence their DNA. The many species of coral include five new species, including one we found growing at depths of more than 2,500 feet. Recent research has provided information about the deep sea that contains more species than biologists had estimated.
The discovery of five new species in a common location was surprising and very encouraging for our team, in the midst of a belief that there are only 300 known species of black coral in the world. Many black corals are facing danger due to illegal exploitation for jewellery. In order to advance smart conservation of these rich habitats, it is important for researchers to understand what species live in these deep places and the geographic range of each species. Whenever scientists explored the deep ocean, they discovered new species. The more species that biologists discover, the better we will be able to understand their evolutionary history. This includes how they faced extinction at least four times. The next step for my colleagues and I is to continue exploring the ocean floor.
Disclaimer:Prabhasakshi has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.