Discovery Made By ROV
Discovering a new reef doesn't happen every day. So, when the oceanographers from the Environmental Protection Agency in Parks Victoria realised what their ROV (autonomous underwater vehicle) had found at the Wilson Promotery Marine National Park, they were stunned.
It was a deepsea reef with dimensions comparable with the Great Barrier Reef. The momentous discovery was made when the oceanographers sent down a ROV to depths of 30 to 100 metres, with the intention of filming and mapping the underwater landscape. But what they saw were ocean habitats and ecosystems so extensive that it reminded them of the Great Barrier Reef.
There were coral reefs, sea whips and sponge gardens, cliffs, house-high rocks, ridges and caverns with a variety of colourful sponges, hard and soft corals and a great abundance of fish.
Furthermore, there were also 90-metre deep holes with large schools of deep bass and big sand dunes (the largest was 30 metres high and two kilometres long!).
“The park is actually known and famous for its scenery above water, we have no idea what is actually living in the depths of the sea,” said Steffan Howe, a marine scientist at Parks Victoria.
Well, no doubt this discovery will encourage more divers to visit the marine park!
Wilsons Promotery Marine National Park
The National Park is located southeast of Melbourne. With its spectacular underwater landscapes, steep granite rocks and deep-sea sponges, it is a haven for divers. Its islands are home to colonies of small penguins, seabirds and sea lions. Covering an area of 15,550 hectares and with a coastline of 17 kilometres, it is the largest national marine park in Victoria, Australia.