Aeolian Islands: discovery of a spectacular forest of corals

Extraordinary forests of endangered corals around the underwater volcanoes of the Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily. This is what the researchers found during the expedition of Oceana Ranger, a catamaran belonging to the homonymous international Foundation created with the aim of protecting the seas, which revealed a wonderful series of coral forests around the volcanoes of the Mediterranean archipelago of the Aeolian islands.

Among isolated underwater mountains, underwater shoals and hydrothermal streams formed by island volcanic activity, researchers found critically endangered bamboo corals, soft corals and black corals with numerous shark eggs and several other habitats hosting a large number of species.
On the basis of these discoveries, Oceana will support the designation of a marine protected area in the archipelago, with the aim of preserving the rich natural heritage of its waters.

With an underwater robot, videos and photographs were taken of the seabed up to a depth of 981 metres, and seabed samples were also collected (photos of the expedition can be seen on Flickr).

And it is the deeper areas that have revealed these spectacular forests of bamboo corals and habitats that include carnivorous species.

Among the specimens found also an unseen species of Starfish, the Zoroaster fulgens and a fish species that was thought to live only on the seabed of the Adriatic Sea, the Gobius kolombatovici.

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