New Underwater Discovery Gives The Great Barrier Reef A Run For Its Money

Looks like one of the world’s most famous natural wonders has some pretty impressive competition.

This week, researchers in Australia announced the discovery of a coral reef with such diverse and thriving marine life, it rivals that of the Great Barrier Reef.

Using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), an underwater video camera and virtual reality goggles, researchers uncovered a stunning deep-sea world of hard and soft coral, colorful sponge gardens and massive coral fans — all teeming with fish and marine invertebrates.

It took researchers three days to explore the never-before-seen habitats as part of an ongoing project to map out the sea floor within the Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park in southern Australia, a collaboration between Parks Victoria and Deakin University. In some areas, the ROV dove to depths of 330 feet.

“It’s a wild and dynamic environment,” Steffan Howe, Parks Victoria’s marine science manager, told The Huffington Post.

The Wilsons Promontory National Park sits on a peninsula in Victoria, Australia’s southernmost state, and is surrounded by the Bass Strait, which separates the mainland from the island of Tasmania. The peninsula used to form a land bridge to Tasmania, according to Howe.

“Part of the area we are looking at was actually above sea level during the last ice age,” he said.

The research team uncovered stunning physical features in the marine park’s deep waters, including boulders the size of houses, underwater sea caves and 100-foot high sand dunes shaped by the ocean currents.

Physical features aside, what really makes the marine park’s seafloor comparable to the Great Barrier Reef is the “spectacular invertebrate communities and abundant fish communities within these areas,” Howe explained. 

“It looks like a biodiversity hotspot —> Read More