Deep Sea Robot Discovers Two Hidden Coral Reefs

Dive into this AI discovery by the Schmidt Ocean Institute's ROV SuBastian, revealing hidden reefs in the Galápagos Islands Marine Reserve

A team of researchers aboard the research vessel Falkor discovered a never-seen-before underwater world of hidden reefs.

This expedition, driven by the innovative Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SuBastian, will add another layer to our understanding of deep-sea ecosystems. 

Deep-Sea Discovery 

The ROV SuBastian, designed for deep-sea exploration, was at the heart of this mission.  

Aboard the Falkor, a team of 24 multidisciplinary scientists from 13 organizations and universities got on board this explorative voyage, equipped with advanced cameras, sensors, and data-collection tools. 

Coral Reef Mapping 

The Schmidt Ocean Institute’s SuBastian discovered cold-water reefs between 370 to 420 meters deep, challenging our previous understanding of deep reefs within the Galápagos Islands Marine Reserve.  

The largest of these reefs stretches over 800 meters, an estimate of  eight football fields, while the smallest spans 250 meters. 

Is It Important? 

These newly uncovered reefs are critical in the face of current threats to coral ecosystems, such as coral bleaching, overfishing, and pollution. Home to a diverse array of stony coral species, these reefs are potentially vital for sustaining marine biodiversity. 

Technology for Precise Mapping 

Laser scanning technology played a big role in this research, directing the team to generate highly detailed maps with a two-millimeter resolution. Led by Dr. Katleen Robert of the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, the 30-day expedition employed this advanced technology to surpass traditional underwater mapping methods. 

A Volcanic Discovery 

ROV SuBastian explored a rift zone near the active volcano of Fernandina Island, revealing two previously unknown seamounts.  

Danny Rueda Córdova, director of the Galápagos National Park Directorate, highlights the importance of this research, by offering a deeper look into decision-making, ensuring the protection of these ecosystems and their rich biodiversity. 

Final Thoughts 

The Falkor’s recent expedition, led by the innovative ROV SuBastian, not only expands our knowledge of the deep-sea ecosystems of the Galápagos but also highlights the importance of advanced technology in protecting our planet’s underwater treasures. This journey into the depths gives a closer look into a world brimming with life and potential, offering a beacon of hope for the future of our oceans. 

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