Amazon River hiding a massive reef ecosystem
The muddy mouth of the Amazon has been covering an unexpected biological bounty
But an expedition led by Dr. Patricia Yager, an oceanographer and professor of Marine Sciences at the University of Georgia, in Athens, and her Brazilian colleagues, has found a reef system that stretches over thousands of square kilometres. The reef system includes a variety of organisms - corals, invertebrates, and fish - that survive in the low light conditions under the muddy outflow of the Amazon, while powerful currents are likely sweeping away the sediment that might otherwise bury them.
Like most reefs around the world, this newly discovered ecosystem is likely facing significant challenges from fishing, warming temperatures, ocean acidification, and offshore commercial development.