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They found a 1000-square-meter cold water coral reef at depths of between 280 and 300 meters off the coast of Faial Island in the Azores. It is the first known coral reef in the Azores.
A group of scientists from the University of the Azores, who analyzed the information recorded by the Lula1000, identified the coral species as Dendrophyllia. This species of coral is known in the Azores, but is usually found in isolated cases rather than in the form of a reef. "Science now needs to explain why a coral reef would grow in this place when just 500 meters away in very similar conditions not even a single coral can be found," says Joachim Jakobsen. This type of coral reef is found in other marine areas but only in fossil form, which means they have died off and become stone.
The coral reef is not just interesting in scientific terms, it is also beautiful to look at. In the headlights of the Lula1000 it has a stunning white-yellow glow. Kirsten Jakobsen, who mans the camera behind the PLEXIGLAS® dome, managed to shoot some razor-sharp pictures. This dive was different to usual because the thirteen-year-old daughter of the couple, Ana Jakobsen, was on board, too. Just like her father, she is also starting to learn about deep-sea research from a young age.
The Rebikoff-Niggeler-Stiftung considers the discovery of this reef to be the most significant discovery so far with the Lula1000. The position of the reef close to the coast goes to show how much there still is to document in this marine region, and also how important the existence of the Lula1000 submersible is for documenting this undersea ecosystem.