Discovery of New Species of Deep- Water Coral and Deep- Sea Floor Canyons by Australian Researchers

CSIRO

Australia is blotched with unchartered territories, that experts in the country continue to seek out. A lot of this land is filled with the unknown, adding to an archive of discoveries. In one of the recent discoveries, CSIRO, undertook research and survey an unexplored patch of undersea life. The team of scientists, who went on for a 28 days voyage, aboard a research ship RV investigator, around the Coral sea, chanced upon a new species of deep-water coral and deep-sea floor canyons.

Underwater volcanoes, called seamounts was the aim of the research team.  On their way to get the genesis of the region and chart the seabed, they serendipitously discovered sea floor canyons 5 kilometers deep, new unnamed underwater volcanoes and what they believe to be a new species of deep-water coral.

The voyage’s chief scientist, Associate Professor Jo Whittaker from the University of Tasmania, said the rocks would help answer important questions about the history of the Coral Sea and its formation millions of years ago.

“This is really a voyage of discovery in a lot of places. A lot of these places haven’t been sampled at all and so anything that we find is really is new and exciting — particularly in the far northern region of our voyage track, particularly in PNG waters — no-one’s been there at all and there’s just really been no samples collected.” she said.

A few of the seamounts found were as old as 60 million years, and they could reveal the formation of physical Australia, on further study. The research will study how the movement of tectonic plates interact with the circulation of earth. RV Investigator heads out again next week to study the East Australian Current, ahead of a longer voyage next month through the Great Barrier Reef to Darwin.