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‘Pristine’ coral reef discovered

The Galapagos Islands of Ecuador has a coral reef that is home to a thriving marine life.

Scientists traced a 1.2-mile (2km) long reef up to the top 400m (1300ft) of an underwater volcano formed by volcanic activity.

Jose Davalos is the Ecuadorian environment minister. He said that the exploration team had “found the world’s first coral reef in its original state… at the top of a submerged mountain”.

Scientists were surprised to discover the previously unknown underwater colony. They thought there was only one coral reef in the volcanic archipelago, Wellington, along the coast of Darwin Island.


During El Nino in 1982-83, the ocean surface heated up to devastating levels. This caused severe damage to the reefs.

The newly discovered coral reef has survived and is more than half alive.

Mr Davalos tweeted: “Galapagos surprises us again.”

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Image: Pic: UBristol/WHOI/UEssex/UBoise/NERC
Image: Pic: UBristol/WHOI/UEssex/UBoise/NERC
Image: Pic: UBristol/WHOI/UEssex/UBoise/NERC

Stuart Banks, senior marine researcher and expedition participant at the Charles Darwin Foundation, said that this is a very important issue at a global scale because many deepwater ecosystems are degraded.

The coral dates back to several thousand years.

Ecuador increased the Galapagos Marine Reserve by more than 20 square miles in order to protect endangered species migrating between the archipelago of the Galapagos and Cocos Island, Costa Rica.

The islands are home to many endangered species, including giant tortoises.


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