New coral reef discovered in Seychelles

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Scientists from the University of Essex have discovered a new, previously undiscovered coral reef in the Seychelles.

David Smith and David Suggett, researchers at the University's Coral Reef Research Unit in the Department of Biological Sciences, discovered the new reef along with PhD student Sebastian Hennige.

The three were visiting Curieuse Island as part of an ongoing study funded by Mitsubishi Corporation in conjunction with the Earthwatch Institute when they discovered the reef.

The island, home to about 200 giant land tortoises, was not previously thought to have a coral reef.

According to David Smith, Diving revealed an extensive coral reef to the south of the island, at a depth which would not be visible to the occasional snorkeller.

The researchers also found evidence of destruction caused by the 2004 tsunami and signs of recovery on the reef.

The discovery of the reef has resulted in a plan by authorities to establish a centre of marine field-based research on Curieuse Island.