An international team of scientists has discovered a huge coral reef in the Amazon River.
The team from the universities of Georgia in the USA and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil was on an expedition to learn more about Amazon River plumes when it made the discovery. Plumes are the areas close to where a river meets the sea and the river’s freshwater mixes with the saltwater of the ocean. The reef system spans an area of 5,800 square kilometers, stretching from the coast of French Guiana to the rainforest of the Brazilian state of Maranhao. The finding has surprised marine biologists because reefs are rarely found in large rivers as the water is usually too muddy and dark, and does not contain enough salt. The scientists only explored 10 percent of the reef. They said there were many sponges, creatures and other marine life that had adapted to life in the darker waters. They also recorded 73 species of reef fish, many of them carnivorous. Researcher Dr. Patricia Yager enthused about what she had seen. She said: “We brought up the most amazing and colorful animals I have ever seen on an expedition.” Sadly, not all news about the reef is good. The whole area has been earmarked for oil exploration. Dr. Yager warned that: “From ocean acidification and ocean warming to plans for offshore oil exploration right on top of these new discoveries, the whole system is at risk from human impacts.”
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c. set aside
a) What do you think scientists will find in the unexplored 90% of the reef?
b) What would you like to see up close in the ocean, and why?
c) What kind of expedition would you like to go on?
d) What will happen to the reef if oil exploration goes ahead?
e) What does global warming do to reefs?
f) How do humans impact coral reefs?
g) What other reefs do you know about?
h) What questions would you like to ask the researchers?
i) What is the job of reefs?
j) Why has it taken so long to find this reef?
k) What would it be like to be on a River Amazon expedition?
l) How important is the River Amazon?
m) What do you know about rainforests?
n) What do marine biologists do every day?
o) What are the differences between life in rivers and the sea?
p) What do you think about what you read?