Rare coral found off of Irish coast

Avatar By Joseph Scalise | 2 years ago

Divers from the Marine Institute in Galway have found a rare coral known as corallium off of Ireland’s west coast.

The team made the discovery while on a three week journey through Irish waters. The coral is black and typically grows in large fans.

While not specifically searching for the species, researchers spotted it with a high definition remotely operated vehicle. They noted it twice during the survey. That is significant because this is the first time the species has been found outside of Canadian waters.

In addition, the coral on camera appeared different than any other one on record, suggesting it could be an entirely new species.

“We made a couple of different finds and there were a couple of species that had never been seen in Irish waters before,” said chief scientist David O’Sullivan, a researcher at the Marine Institute, according to BBC News. “That’s not to say that they haven’t been there all along, but they haven’t been looked at by an expert before and actually known what they were.”

Not only does the new study shed light on the species and show that they may be more widespread than previously believed, but it also enables researchers to get a better idea of ocean ecology.

The recent survey is the second of three planned expeditions jointly funded by the Irish Government and the EU’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Scientists hope future trips give more insight into different ecosystems around Ireland and shed light on corallium.

“This kind of research is important because it allows us to see what’s going on in our oceans and the ecological requirements for the species,” added O’Sullivan.

The findings are important, and the team plans to expand on them by further analyzing them in the coming days.