Some Like It Cold?

August 5, 2012

The recently discovered northernmost reef in the world!

Despite the tropical paradise most people imagine when they picture coral reefs, a recent discovery proves that not all reefs exist in extremely warm temperatures. Considering that approximately 90% of the world’s reefs are in the tropics it is a rare occurrence to find a reef that can survive in temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Researchers have found what is now the most northernmost coral reef in the world off the coast of Japan’s Tsushima Islands.

Scientists are not exactly sure as to what caused this 4,300 year old reef to start growing in such an non-hospitable location, however they attribute most growth to the warm current off the northwestern coast of Japan that could carry the coral larvae from the warmer waters to this area.

This chilly reef consists mostly of the Favia coral genre. This large ground-covering coral can withstand more harsh environments than the branchy and colorful Acropora coral of the tropics. This coral discovery will allow scientists to compare coral species and locations to help understand how reefs can adapt to the ever-changing climate as well as measure the changes to the ecosystems in warmer water zones.

*Source Article