400-year-old giant reef discovered

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A group of snorkelers in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef noticed what looked to be a massive boulder on the ocean floor a few months ago.
The big brown and cream-colored thing turned out to be a giant coral, a 10.4-meter-wide and 5.3-meter-tall organism that is one of the reef’s largest and oldest corals. The coral, which is 2.4m broader than any other in the reef, is 421 to 438 years old. This implies it has weathered several tropical cyclones as well as a string of recent bleaching events.
Scientists believe that researching such coral could provide crucial insights into climate and ocean conditions changes as fears about the Great Barrier Reef’s future deepen.
The coral was discovered in March off the shore of Orpheus Island in Queensland, roughly 250 kilometers south of Cairns. A group of citizen scientists discovered it. Dr. Adam Smith, a marine biologist who led the team that discovered the coral, described its size and age as “mind-blowing.”
We were exploring, and the water was flat, and we had heard there were some large corals in the region, so we decided to investigate.”
“We came across a large coral.” It turned out to be a gigantic coral. My first impression was that it was large and lovely.”
The team took measurements of the coral before returning to the lab to compare the size to prior discoveries. They realized their find was “extremely special”: the reef’s widest and sixth-highest coral ever recorded. No signs of illness or bleaching could be found.

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