Large coral reefs found in the seas surrounding Iriomote, Ishigaki Islands

Large coral reefs found in the seas surrounding Iriomote, Ishigaki Islands

Pachyseris speciosa covers a coral reef about 40 meters below the ocean surface off Funauki Bay, Taketomi, Iriomote Island. (Photograph provided by Toru Naruse, a researcher at the Tropical Biosphere Research Center of the University of the Ryukyus.)


May 26, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

Large coral reefs were found on the deep-ocean floor off Nagura Bay, Ishigaki Island and off Iriomote Island. The reefs are at a depth of 30-55 meters. At a meeting of the 51st Okinawa Biological Society held at the University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, on May 25, Toru Naruse, a researcher at the Tropical Biosphere Research Center of the University of the Ryukyus announced this report.
According to the researcher, there are large coral reefs at eight locations around Iriomote Island, including six in Funauki Bay, one off coast of Akasaki and one off coast of Ballast, and two locations off Nagura Bay, Ishigaki. The coral reefs off Funauki Bay in Iriomote Island are the largest ones discovered. The reefs are about 540 meters in length and 150 meters in width. They are mainly covered with large numbers of pachyseris speciosa .

The locations of large coral reefs discovered this time.

Coral reefs are found commonly in shallow water, where direct sunlight allows photosynthesis to occur easily. It is uncommon for coral reefs to grow at medium sea-depth. The ecosystems of the deep-sea reefs are not yet fully understood by scientists. Naruse said, “We need to continue the investigation.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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