NOAA Scientists Discovered Hidden Bamboo Corals Deep Inside the Gulf of Mexico


When scientists of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were charting the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico, they accidentally made a huge discovery. Hundred years old bamboo corals live deep in the sea.

Using a remote-operated submersible (ROV), scientists discovered that almost 7,500 feet down there were hundred years old corals. One of the scientists said that they saw a fantastic coral garden and that they have never seen corals with that density before.

An Accidental Discovery While Exploring the Deep Sea Habitat

The exploration of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Gulf of Mexico lasted three months, starting in December 2017. The primary focus of the expedition was to check the deep regions and map the seafloor. Between April and May 2018, the scientists made a different exploration, which lasted 23 days. The purpose was to explore the habitats deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

Researchers collected data, images, and videos of the regions and explored “deep fish habitats, deep coral communities, shipwrecks,” and creatures that live in deep water. This last expedition would finalize the program for the year of 2018 in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bamboo corals are small creatures that polyps which feed through filtering plankton. The skeleton of the corals looks like a tree’s branches. These branches are composed of calcium carbonate.

The researchers discovered that the bamboo corals need a proper place to grow and to also get the plankton. They have also shared videos of the expedition, showing the bamboo corals and how they live deep in the water.

NOAA researchers know that the deep waters are a gold mine, full of uncharted regions that will help them in their future studies. Until now, they only checked 5% of the deep seafloor. In time, they will surely make more surprising discoveries.


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