Source: Schmidt Ocean Institute
Hollardia goslinei, a species of deepwater spike fishes native to Hawaii, has been found in Australia—very far away from its known “home” range
During one of the only at-sea scientific expeditions to continue during the coronavirus pandemic, scientists aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor have completed the first survey of the deep waters of the Coral Sea. As well as discovering the deepest living hard corals in Eastern Australian waters, the Australian team has identified as many as 10 new marine species of fish, snails, and sponges.
The research vessel spent 46 days in the Coral Sea Marine Park, one of the largest protected areas in the world. The scientists connected remotely to the ship from their homes, creating maps of the seafloor and collecting footage of the deep ocean habitats down to more than 5,000 feet using an underwater robot called SuBastian, which is capable of streaming 4K video in real time. Mapping almost 14,000 square miles, the data revealed 30 large coral atolls and banks with submarine canyons, dune fields, and submerged reefs.
“This expedition has provided us with a unique window into both the geological past and the present-day conditions, allowing scientists and park managers to be able to see and tell the full story of the interconnected environments,” said expedition leader Dr. Robin Beaman of James Cook University. “This vision is invaluable for science, management, and education.”
The work has given scientists a much better understanding of the Coral Sea deep reef community’s depth and habitat preferences. Head over to the Schmidt Ocean Institute website and check out their YouTube channel to see some of the 74 hours of video that has been shared publicly.
Fields of hard coral like this one have never been observed in the Coral Sea until these dives
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