In the last few years we’ve been bombarded with troubling news about our dwindling Great Barrier Reef. So it’s nice to wake up to the news that Mother Nature still has a few tricks up her sleeve.
A stunning new ecosystem has been discovered off the coast of Victoria at Wilsons Promontory National Park – colourful and teeming with life – and it’s already being said to rival our most famous reef in size and diversity.
However, this one might not be quite so easy to visit on a sunny weekend away – at least not without some serious deep sea diving equipment. This reef lies far deeper – up to 100 metres – and has only been explored so far by robots.
While the Great Barrier Reef makes it easy to admire nature’s strange beauty above the water, much of the deeper sea remains a mystery us, according to Parks Victoria Marine Science Manager Steffan Howe.
However, technological development on unmanned underwater probes is making it easier and easier to discover these previously-untouchable areas – and in some cases, exceed even the wildest expectations.
“The maps identified some amazing underwater structures very deep beneath the ocean, but we did not know what sort of marine life was there”, he said.
“The resulting footage shows that the deep reef habitats are teeming with life and are home to rich and abundant marine ecosystems that are comparable to Australia’s better-known tropical reef areas”.
Some of the most impressive discoveries include massive coral fans, large sea whips, complex underwater dune systems and vibrant, colourful sponge gardens.
The fish life is just as impressive, with enormous 90 metre deep pits filled with schools of fish – individually up to 80cm long. The area is filled with previously hard-to-find species, including the rare Australian barracuda and Longsnout Boarfish.
See the first footage below, and tell us: are you excited?