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Giant pristine coral reef discovered off Tahiti

Marine explorers have discovered a “pristine” 3km (2-mile) coral reef at depths of 30m (100ft) off the coast of Tahiti, French Polynesia. It is one of the largest discovered at that depth, says the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which led the mission.

Dr Julian Barbiere, from Unesco, said there were probably many more of these ecosystems “we just don’t know about”. “We should be working to map them and to protect them,” he said.

Twilight zone

Unesco director general Audrey Azoulay said the “remarkable” discovery extended our knowledge of “what lies beneath”.

The reef was found in November, during a diving expedition to a depth known as the ocean’s “twilight zone” – part of a global seabed-mapping mission called the Seabed2030 Project.

Alexis Rosenfeld captures images and footage of the pristine reef

French underwater photographer Alexis Rosenfeld said it had been “magical to witness giant, beautiful rose corals stretching as far as the eye can see”. “It was like a work of art,” he added.

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