Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Rolling in the Deep

Rolling in the Deep Parks Victoria
09 Sep
2015
A newly discovered reef in southern Australia, said to rival the Great Barrier Reef, has been located after a robotic vehicle captured footage at previously unexplored depths

There isn’t a more famous reef in the world than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of the Northern state of Queensland. The iconic GBR is the focus of much of the world’s marine conservation activity, including recent debates by UNESCO regarding whether it should officially be labelled ‘in danger’ or not – a highly political issue for the South Pacific nation.

However, new discoveries in the 15,550ha Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park, in the state of Victoria, mean that the GBR may have to get used to sharing the spotlight.

australia-reef1Ocean life on the newly discovered reef (Image: Parks Victoria)

At previously unexplorable depths, a specialised Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) was used by park scientists to explore areas of 30 to 100m below the sea surface, locating what Steffan Howe, Parks Victoria Marine Science Manager, described as ‘spectacular marine life’.

‘The discoveries follow previous research that mapped the park’s sea floor in detail,’ said Howe. ‘The maps identified some amazing underwater structures very deep beneath the ocean, but we did not know what sort of marine life was there.’

australia-reef2Patches of bright colour on the reef (Image: Parks Victoria)

The use of the ROV enabled a wide collection of images to be gathered from the depths of the marine park. They revealed a complex underwater dune system, including one dune 30m high and 2km long, as well as marine life in the form of large coral fans, sea whips and colourful sponge gardens. The images also show a wide array of walls, house-sized boulders, ridges and caverns with a diverse range of colourful sponges, hard and soft corals and abundant fish life, including some up to 80cm long.

‘The resulting footage shows that the deep reef habitats are teeming with life and are home to rich and abundant marine ecosystems that are comparable to Australia’s better-known tropical reef areas,’ continued Howe. ‘The extent and abundance of spectacular sponge gardens and corals is a particularly exciting find. The discoveries and footage will enable us to showcase Victoria’s spectacular marine environment to the thousands of visitors who come to this park each year.’

Related items

Subscribe and Save!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Wildlife

A look at the contribution of hippos to the savannah…

Wildlife

The new app encourages young children to connect with the…

Energy

A type of panel has been invented that can generate…

Tectonics

In the 4th century BC, Aristotle proposed that earthquakes were…

Climate

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management pledges to achieve net…

Tectonics

Earthquakes from time immemorial have attracted the attention of the…

Tectonics

A planned kayaking expedition in Nepal took on a whole…

Tectonics

Scientists from Bristol University are working in conjunction with EDF…

Tectonics

In the 1930s, Charles Richter developed a simple scale for…

Tectonics

Researchers at Colombia University have answered a question that has…

Tectonics

How prepared can any government or city be against a…

Tectonics

Benjamin Hennig creates a series of cartograms to demonstrate the…

Wildlife

Could grey seals singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star help develop…

Climate

Deep sea expert Dr Alex Rogers explains the importance of…

Oceans

Analysis of coral cores, extracted from coral reefs in the…

Wildlife

Celebrities and animal welfare groups have been expressing their disappointment…

Geophoto

In a series of photographs from his recent trip to…