Park officials in the southern Australian province of Victoria say a deepwater reef has been discovered there that may have more coral, sponge, and fish than the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is in Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park near Melbourne, and researchers have been exploring it using a remote-controlled vessel. The footage that came back from these explorations leads officials at Parks Victoria to say the reef is a “particularly exciting find.”
Scientists used a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) with a camera to explore the reef in Wilsons Promontory. Because the newly discovered reef is in deeper waters than the Great Barrier Reef, the size and variety of organisms differ somewhat. At Wilsons Promontory, the ROV captured footage showing coral fans and dunes around 30 meters (98 feet) high, making for an impressive discovery. Several rare species of fish, including the Australian barracuda and Longsnout Boarfish, were caught on film as well, bolstering the evidence that the reef is an incredible habitat for all sorts of sea life.
The size of the new reef hasn’t been reported, so it’s possible that the 1,429-mile long Great Barrier Reef still holds the title of largest reef in the world. That reef, situated off the coast of Queensland, has long been touted as a unique spot for marine biodiversity. Because of its relatively shallow waters and abundant colorful fish, the reef has become a popular destination for snorkelers from around the world. The reef also holds the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Images via Parks Victoria