Scientists have discovered deep-sea coral reefs in a pristine condition in a previously unexplored part of the Galápagos marine reserve, raising hopes for the survival of corals amidst rising sea temperatures. Diving to depths of 600 metres, the scientists witnessed a mix of deep marine life, including pink octopus, batfish, squat lobsters, and an array of deep-sea fish, sharks, and rays. The discovery indicates that healthy reefs can still thrive, despite coral's crisis due to record sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. This find also shows the effectiveness of conservation actions and effective management. Ecuador, which owns the Galápagos, is collaborating with northern neighbours Panama, Costa Rica, and Colombia on a regional marine corridor initiative that aims to protect and responsibly manage the ocean. The discovery of the reefs is potentially of global significance, according to Michelle Taylor, a marine biologist at Essex University, and co-leader of the expedition.
Photo Credit: LI FEI