The largest coral reef ever found has been found at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. A previously unknown area of the sea floor has been mapped using new technology.
The reef has an area of about 26,000 square kilometers. This makes it the largest deep-sea coral reef ever measured research. It has been known since 1960 that there are coral reefs, but their size has long been a mystery.
Three-quarters of the ocean floor remains unexplored. Within ten years, American researchers systematically mapped the so-called Blake Plateau. The region is located in the western Atlantic Ocean near the US state of Florida. The depth of the seabed is between 500 and 1000 metres.
Mapping was a huge undertaking. Researchers dived to the bottom 23 times in submarines. There they studied the area with sonar systems. It is estimated that approximately 84,000 coral mounds have been identified.
Cold water corals do not rely on cooperation with colorful algae to obtain their nutrients. Instead, coral filters organic matter from the water. That's why it's white.
Deep sea bottom animals use coral as a home. Therefore, deep-sea coral reefs provide great habitats for all types of animals on the ocean floor.
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