‘Lost world’ of coral on the Great Barrier Reef

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Dozens of new types of coral have been identified in a remote section of the Great Barrier Reef and it has been described as a ‘lost world’ by researchers. Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and Torres Strait Regional Authority have been studying the area of Torres Strait for the last three years.

Their findings were presented at National Environmental Research Program conference in Cairns last week, reports the Cairns Post.

The researchers were looking at five different sites from central to eastern Torres Strait and they discovered 91 new species of coral in the region.

Dr Scott Bainbridge, from AIMS, said: ‘These reefs are in extremely good condition.

‘They are managed by the local communities, and potentially these may also be important to southern reefs as well.

‘We don’t know about their connectivity, like what role does Torres Strait play in keeping the health of the northern and southern GBR?

‘It’s all undiscovered and extremely exciting,’ reports the Cairns Post.

The Torres Strait lies between Australia and New Guinea and is approximately 150 km wide at its narrowest extent.

The researchers also found the Torres Strait to be one of the most varied coral reef systems in the country.

They also found the area to be ‘largely undisturbed but not immune to pressures such as coral bleaching and crown-of-thorns outbreaks’ reports the Cairns Post.

The new records have been added to those at the Museum of Tropical Queensland.

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