Washington: Experts from the University of Haifa’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences discovered for the first time an area of reefs with deep-sea corals in the Mediterranean, offshore of Israel.
According to the researchers, this south-eastern 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.
The most significant of these discoveries were the reefs of deep-sea coral, the first deep-sea coral reefs to be found offshore Israel.
The find 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.
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 Makovsky.
One of the fascinating fish that were captured by the Nautilus’s cameras was the Chimera 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.
First Published: Wednesday, October 06, 2010, 00:13