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October 28 2012

Great Barrier Reef's coral crisis could find help in deeper waters


A robot diving deeper than any human diver has found that coral deep below Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is very healthy even though the shallower coral is suffering from storms, warming seas and pollution. The robot’s handlers hope the deeper coral will provide the "recruits" needed to naturally repair the shallower reefs.

"Up until now our knowledge was limited to the shallow reefs accessible by scuba diving," Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, chief scientist for the Catlin Seaview Survey, said in a statement announcing the findings. "In reality, that provided us with an incomplete picture."

The remote-operated vehicle, he added, allows scientists to study coral at depths between 90 and 300 feet, "revealing a wholly different picture which now includes the deep reef environment.".

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