POSITIVE DISCOVERIES OF CORAL
The Amazon Reef (also referred to as the Amazonian Reef) is an extensive coral and sponge reef system, located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of French Guiana and northern Brazil. It is one of the largest known reef systems in the world, with scientists estimating its length at over 970 kilometres (600 miles), and its area as over 9,300 km2 (3,600 sq mi). Publication of its discovery was released in April 2016, following an oceanographic study of the region in 2012. Evidence of a large structure near the delta of the Amazon River dated from as early as the 1950s.
Initial evidence for a coral and sponge reef system in the Amazon Delta region first surfaced in the late 1950s, when a U.S. survey ship collected sponges from the floor of the Amazon Delta. Further evidence also appeared in 1977, when reef fish were first sighted in the area, and in 1999, when Caribbean-native coral species were found in isolated regions near the Amazon Delta. However, no major study into the existence of a reef system occurred until 2012, when an international research team of over 30 oceanographers, led by Rodrigo Moura of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and including patrons from the University of Georgia, conducted a survey of the area aboard the RV Atlantis. The survey was mostly based on findings from the 1970s, including a crude map of the area marked with potential locations of reefs along the Amazonian coast. The team used technologies such as acoustic sampling to locate potential reef sites, and confirmed the discovery by dredging the floor of the reef, bringing up samples of corals, sponges and other reef species onto the ship deck. Their discoveries and findings were detailed and presented in a research article, published in the scientific journal Science Advances, in April 2016.