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Massive coral reef larger than Delaware found at the mouth of the Amazon River

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A group of scientists has discovered a massive coral reef where it was believed that no reef could exist — the mouth of the Amazon River.

According to the L.A. Times, the reef covers 3,700 square miles and supports a “vibrant ecosystem” of plants, fish and other organisms that depend on the reef structure for lie.

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University of Georgia oceanographer Patricia Yager told the Times that when the idea was first suggested to her by researcher Rodrigo Moura of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, she thought it was impossible. Coral reefs need abundant sunlight to survive and river mouths typically carry loads of sun-blocking sediment into the sea.

“I kind of looked at him like he was crazy, thinking, ‘You know how muddy it is there — how could there possibly be a reef there?’” Yager said.

And yet, when she accompanied Moura to the site of the reef and the ship’s crew dredged the sea floor, they brought up a dazzlingly diverse array of reef life.

“Unbelievably, he brought up onboard the deck just the most amazing things I’d ever seen…beautiful, colorful reef animals that I had no idea were down there,” she recounted.

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Coral are tiny animals related to jellyfish and sea anemones that harvest calcium and carbonate from the seawater around them to build rock-hard structures that can stretch for thousands of miles. Coral reefs are home to a wide array of plants and animals and play a vital role in the oceans’ biodiversity. However, the organisms are sensitive to changes in water acidity and temperature. Climate change and human activity are killing off reefs at alarming rates around the world.

Fabiano Thompson, an oceanographer at the Federal University in Rio, told Smithsonian magazine, “This is something totally new and different from what is present in any other part of the globe.”

“But until now,” he said, “it’s been almost completely overlooked.”

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The Washington Post noted that the reef’s discovery comes “at a time when reefs worldwide are under immense stress.”

“Last week, a task force in Australia reported that 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has suffered at least some bleaching,” wrote the Post’s Sarah Kaplan. “The warming of oceans because of climate change and El Niño have weakened the world’s coral for months, scientists say, causing damage from Hawaii to the Indian Ocean.”

The newly discovered reef is under threat from local fishing and oil drilling, said Yager, although it is currently unclear how severe the threat is. Researchers are concerned that the reef will begin to die before they can fully explore it.

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“Isn’t that always the case,” Yager told the Times, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone?”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Iran Foreign Minister Zarif perfectly Twitter-trolls Trump with photos of meeting with smiling Macron at G7

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Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif used Donald Trump's favorite social media platform to get in a dig at the president and rub his nose in the fact that French President Emmanuel took time out from the busy G7 meeting he is hosting to sit down with him.

The White House was reportedly blindsided by Macron's invitation that had been kept a secret from Trump and now, if Trump wanted proof of the meeting, he need only hop on Twitter to see the evidence.

As Zarif wrote, "Iran's active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues. Met @EmmanuelMacron on sidelines of #G7Biarritz after extensive talks with @JY_LeDria & Finance Min. followed by a joint briefing for UK/Germany. Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying."

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Hong Kong police fire first gunshot in protest clashes

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Hong Kong police used water cannon for the first time and at least one officer fired his sidearm during pitched battles with protesters Sunday, one of the most violent nights in three months of pro-democracy rallies that have rocked the city.

An afternoon rally in the district of Tsuen Wan spiralled into violent running confrontations between protesters and police, with officers several times caught outnumbered and isolated by masked youths wielding sticks and throwing rocks.

In one instance, several police officers drew their sidearms, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

"According to my understanding, just now a gunshot was fired by a colleague," Superintendent Leung Kwok Win told the press.

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A Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy admits he lied about being shot by a sniper

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A Los Angeles sheriff's deputy who claimed to have been attacked by a sniper last week has confessed to lying about the supposed incident.

"Reinosa admitted he was not shot at as he previously claimed," L.A. County Homicide Capt. Kent Wegener said regarding Angel Reinosa, the California sheriff's deputy who was still a trainee when he claimed on Wednesday that he had been attacked by an unknown sniper, according to ABC News. "He also told investigators he had caused the holes in his uniform by cutting it. There was no sniper, no shots fired and no gunshot injury sustained to his shoulder."

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