2016 was a good year for coral surprizes. Until recently no one even knew that corals could grow just out from the river-mouth of the Amazon. Then 9,300 square kilometers of reef was found living in a region no one thought corals could grow.
Volunteers found very nice reefs in Morton Bay, not far from the ferry route, but entirely “unexpected” and “better than tourist sites”. Researchers also found another 4.000 square kilometers of reef off Queensland, hidden under 20m of water.
In every media article the corals were immediately called into action against mining, farming, stuff like that. Journalists talk to scientists and head straight over to Greenpeace. The poor corals are politicized before they’d even been put on a tourist map.
Somehow scientists that are wrong are always described as surprised, excited or astonished. Other professions dream that their errors would be recounted this way. (Think –tax accountants, pilots, politicians…) . In terms of hard questions from the media, the only group that gets it easier than Hillary Clinton are scientists. Not that I’m saying they should have known, but the same profession that talks about 97% certainty can’t also get a free run every time their assumptions are 100% wrong. The corals discovered near the Amazon might be quite important. The journalists describe the zone as having a”unique pH”, which is a funny way to say that it was almost certainly a lower pH (because rivers are naturally low). Why hide that – it might show that corals aren’t under as much threat from “acidification” as some people want you to think.
Amazon Reef: First images of coral system discovered at mouth of river released
Scientists were surprised to find the reef in “unfavourable conditions”, beneath a muddy plume where water flows from the Amazon River.
The riverine discharge, which generates a plume and muddy bottoms, affects a wide area of the tropical North Atlantic in terms of light penetration, sedimentation, salinity and pH, according to Science Advances — the journal that announced the discovery last year.
“This reef system is important for many reasons, including the fact that it has unique characteristics regarding use and availability of light, and physicochemical water conditions,” Nils Asp, researcher at the Federal University of Para in Brazil, said.
“At the moment, less than 5 per cent of the ecosystem is mapped,” he said.
From The Guardian in April last year: … the reef appears to be thriving below the freshwater “plume”, or outflow, of the Amazon. Compared to many other reefs, the scientists say in a paper in Science Advances on Friday, it is is relatively “impoverished”. Nevertheless, they found over 60 species of sponges, 73 species of fish, spiny lobsters, stars and much other reef life.
Then, all this time, there were giant 250m wide donuts of corals under the water, but nobody noticed because they were all of 20 -50m deep, below the reach of the average diver. Ponder that it was only 20m of water hiding these when the average depth of the oceans is 4km.
Scientists puzzled by fields of giant donut-shaped reefs found off north Queensland
Australian scientists working with laser data from the Royal Australian Navy have discovered a reef system covering around 6,000 square kilometres, north of the Great Barrier Reef.
James Cook University’s Dr Robin Beaman explained the ‘inter-reef’ structure sits just behind the familiar coral reefs, on a deeper seafloor.
“The mapping that had been done earlier said that there are about 2,000 square kilometres off the Great Barrier Reef inter-reef area. Well, we’ve tripled that now,” Dr Beaman said.
AUSSIE SCIENTISTS FIND NEW REEF BEHIND THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
The 6,000 square kilometre reef was hiding in plain sight. — National Geo
And the Ferries kept driving past some great corals in Morton Bay:
Moreton Bay coral discovery mapped out by scientists seeking better protection for reef
Scientists have discovered and mapped out new parts of the coral reef system in Moreton Bay with the hope the work will help inform decisions to better protect it.
The area’s secret spots were revealed during the most detailed reef mapping ever done of the south-east Queensland coastal region.
“On Goat Island, not far from where the ferry travels to go to North Stradbroke Island, there’s quite a lot of coral there which most people would be really surprised to know,” Reef Check Australia’s Jennifer Loder said.
The researchers called for more time and money to be spent on Moreton Bay’s reefs.
Perhaps those same scientists who want money could speak up when other colleagues say they’ve mapped the reef and x.xx% has died? Surely they know something about the uncertainties that the public who fund them deserve to find out?
h/t David B
Those scientists shocked and surprised,
Who just cannot believe their own eyes,
Finding new coral reefs,
Should examine their briefs,
Then rethink, review and revise.