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Conserving these corals may offer hope for shallower, degraded reefs

January 4, 2011

Bright blue ascidians, known as sea squirts, are found thriving at 50 meters (164 feet) among corals, light green algae (Lobophora), and red, orange, and brown sponges. (Credit: H. Ruíz.)

NOAA-funded scientists have found extensive and biologically diverse coral ecosystems occurring at depths between 100-500 feet within a 12 mile span off the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico. With the overall health of shallow coral reefs and the abundance of reef fish in Puerto Rico in decline, this finding brings hope that deeper fish stocks may help to replenish stocks on shallower reef.

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