Half a billion people are relying on coral reefs for food. This can only mean that the marine creatures are astonishingly important for the environment. Corals are fascinating, but they still provide surprises for researchers.
According to Gizmodo, a roughly 400-year-old coral of huge proportions was discovered in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef after new research led by Adam Smith, an adjunct associate professor from James Cook University. The researchers found the widest coral that was ever found in the region. Judging also by its age between 421 and 438 years, the coral is also very old.
Muga dhambi is 10.4 meters wide
Measuring 10.4 meters wide and 5.3 meters tall, the newfound coral that was named Muga dhambi is a true wonder. The coral wasn’t found until now probably because it’s positioned in a protected area that gets visitors rarely. The marine creature belongs to the genus Porites.
The coral was found while snorkelers were swimming off the coast of Goolboodi island, meaning a member of the Palm Island Group from Queensland.
Corals usually form compact colonies of a lot of identical individual polyps. The important reef builders that live in tropical oceans and form a hard skeleton are included in corals. Corals are also marine invertebrates from the class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria.
As quoted by Live Science, Nathan Cook, who is a marine scientist at Reef Ecologic from Australia, declared:
Due to the increasing severity and intensity of disturbances to ecosystems worldwide, corals like this are becoming increasingly rare,
As optimists, we hope that Muga dhambi will survive for many more years, but it will require a big change in human impacts.
The new study was published in Scientific Reports. Feel free to leave your own opinion about the subject!