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Coral Oasis Found In Mediterranean Desert

October 08, 2010
"We did not expect, know, or even imagine that we would come across these reefs and certainly not such large ones. It's like finding a flourishing oasis in the middle of the desert,"
- Dr. Yizhaq Makovsky

The exploration vessel Nautilus, with a team of experts of the University of Haifa's Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences , headed by Prof. Zvi Ben Avraham, discovered for the first time an area of reefs with deep-sea corals in the Mediterranean, offshore of Israel.

Their discovery has broad scientific importance. For example, they can help us in understanding the mechanisms of their survival in the environmental conditions of the deep sea, as well as unfold the history of these conditions with the effect of global changes.

"This cruise has provided a nutshell sampling of this maritime region, but our discovery only demonstrates the potential of the many surprises that await us in the depths of this area. An immediate implication of this discovery is that there is an urgent need to classify the area as a deep-sea reserve, as are other coral reef
areas around the world," explained Dr. Makovsky.

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