Two healthy and pristine coral reefs have recently been discovered in the waters surrounding the Galápagos Islands.
From an article in Interesting Engineering by Mrigakshi Dixit.
SuBastian, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) with a depth capacity of 4,500 meters, was used by researchers onboard the research vessel Falkor to discover these corals. This ROV is designed for deep-sea exploration and research purposes. It is outfitted with various sensors, cameras, and equipment for observing and collecting data from the deep water.
The newly discovered cold-water reefs thrived at 370 to 420 meters.
As per the official release, “the discovery expands our understanding of deep reefs within the Galápagos Islands Marine Reserve.”
The Schmidt Ocean Institute is in charge of this underwater robotic vehicle.
The largest of the detected reefs stretches for nearly 800 meters, which is as huge as eight football fields. On the other hand, the smaller reef measures 250 meters in length.
Notably, it was found that both reefs display a diverse array of stony coral species, indicating their potential importance in supporting marine biodiversity over a long period, possibly spanning thousands of years.
The research team employed laser scanning technology to generate highly detailed maps of these reefs.
The laser scanner produced maps with a resolution of two millimeters, enabling the identification of benthic species. Conventional underwater mapping techniques typically lack the precision needed to capture images of seafloor-dwelling animals.
Mapping using a laser scanning technique
The expedition team discovered two previously unknown seamounts in the Galápagos Islands using this high-resolution technology. They also mapped them in great detail and at high resolution.
These seamounts were hypothesized to exist based on satellite data, but their presence had not been proven until now.
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