Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Deep-sea coral reefs discovered in Mediterranean

Date:
October 7, 2010
Source:
University of Haifa
Summary:
The exploration vessel Nautilus has discovered for the first time an area of reefs with deep-sea corals in the Mediterranean, offshore of Israel. This area apparently stretches over a few kilometers, 700 meters under the surface and some 30-40 km off the coast.

Deep-sea reef.
Credit: Image courtesy of the Nautilus

The exploration vessel Nautilus, with a team of experts of the University of Haifa's Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, headed by Prof. Zvi Ben Avraham, discovered for the first time an area of reefs with deep-sea corals in the Mediterranean, offshore of Israel. This area apparently stretches over a few kilometers, 700 meters under the surface and some 30-40 km off the coast of Tel Aviv. According to the researchers, this southeastern region of the Mediterranean has only sparse sea life and therefore the discovery is in fact parallel to discovering an oasis in the middle of an arid expanse.

"We did not expect, know, or even imagine that we would come across these reefs and certainly not such large ones. It's like finding a flourishing oasis in the middle of the desert," said Dr. Yizhaq Makovsky, who directed the University of Haifa control center for the project.After two and a half weeks at sea, during which time the ship's robots plunged as far as 1.7 km down into the depths of the Mediterranean, the Nautilus returned to land and the collaborative research team have begun to examine the many discoveries that they made.

Probably the most significant -- and most surprising -- of these discoveries were the reefs of deep-sea coral, the first deep-sea coral reefs to be found offshore Israel. Their discovery has broad scientific importance. For example, they can help us in understanding the mechanisms of their survival in the environmental conditions of the deep sea, as well as unfold the history of these conditions with the effect of global changes.

"This cruise has provided a nutshell sampling of this maritime region, but our discovery only demonstrates the potential of the many surprises that await us in the depths of this area. An immediate implication of this discovery is that there is an urgent need to classify the area as a deep-sea reserve, as are other coral reef areas around the world," explained Dr. Makovsky.

In-depth research on the sea-bed samples are yet to get well under way, but additional discoveries that can already be reported from the Nautilus expedition, are two shipwrecks -- probably modern boats that sunk over the past few decades; and fish and crabs that were photographed in their natural habitat for the first time, hundreds of meters beneath the Mediterranean surface.

One of the fascinating fish that were captured by the Nautilus's cameras was the Chimaera monstrosa, of the "ghost sharks" family that branched off from sharks some 400 million years ago.

The expedition also discovered and documented a 10-cm crab hiding in the recess of a rock, making it difficult for the research team to identify it. As with all the other discoveries, this crab was also documented thanks to the technological capabilities provided on the Nautilus.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Haifa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Haifa. "Deep-sea coral reefs discovered in Mediterranean." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101004101536.htm>.
University of Haifa. (2010, October 7). Deep-sea coral reefs discovered in Mediterranean. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101004101536.htm
University of Haifa. "Deep-sea coral reefs discovered in Mediterranean." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101004101536.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins