There are a great number of threats to coral reefs. Work must be done quickly to protect our threatened resources. Therefore, the education and cooperation of people throughout the world is necessary if coral reefs are to survive.
Many people believe that corals are found only in the waters of tropical oceans and seas. This common misconception is a result of the fact that reef-forming corals are found only in the tropics. Coral reefs are easily seen in tropical locations because they are just below the surface of the water near the shore. In colder waters, such as the Gulf of Maine, corals are usually found at deep depths, far from shore. Many fishermen haul up corals accidentally in their fishing gear, but some fishermen are unaware of what they are.
Recently, a colorful forest of deep-sea coral was found in Jordan Basin, about 50 miles off the coast of Mount Desert Island, marking the first time such a diverse and abudant field of coral has been found in the Gulf of Maine.
Said of the find:
“The discovery of these corals adds to scientists’ understanding of marine biodiversity in the North Atlantic. They are inherently interesting, long-lived creatures that grow at a snail’s pace – just millimeters per year – and are slow to evolve… ‘This is going to be an exploration for us, too, because there will be a lot of things we’ve never seen before,’ Eckelbarger [investigator on the project] said. ‘They’re not in textbooks.’ … ‘There’s a few other target places that we’ve got in mind, sort of in the Down East area, that we think also have a lot of corals, based on anecdotal stuff we’ve been hearing from fishermen,’ Watling [professor of oceanography] said. ‘There are canyons sort of between Schoodic and Grand Manan … It’s an amazingly unexplored area.”
- from Meredith Goad’s story “Gulf of Maine yields coral forest” Maine Sunday Telegram, August 4, 2002