The Amazon River stretches 4,345 miles across South America, making it one of the largest rivers in the world. Twisting through the Amazon rain forest, the river sustains life throughout the region. Vegetation and animals rely on the river above the surface, but there is more below than meets the eye.
Scientists recently discovered a coral reef system that spans 3,600 square miles along the ocean floor from French Guiana to Brazil’s northeastern state, Maranhão. This reef surprised scientists, because rivers cannot usually sustain such large reef systems due to uneven levels of salinity, pH and a lack of available light sources.
Upon further examination of the reef, researchers found a large colony of sponges and recorded 73 species of fishes. The organisms discovered around the reef thrive in the low-light waters found throughout the region.
Scientists still have a lot to learn about this new reef and the life it supports, along with the rest of the rain forest. To this day, much of the Amazon remains unexplored. Only time will tell what other hidden treasures lay within!
Visit Science Magazine to learn more about the discovery of this coral reef!