The widest coral ever recorded on the Great Barrier Reef is found off the coast of Gulbudy, one of the Palm Islands in Queensland, Australia.
Coral is older than the colonization of Australia and the term "biology"
Called Muga dhambi (Big Coral) by the traditional guardians of the islands, the Manbarra people, the hemispherical giant is 10.4 meters wide and 5.3 meters high - at least 2.4 meters wider than the next widest coral measured on the Reef. The discovery is detailed in Scientific Reports.
In addition to its exceptionally large size, Muga dhambi is also in exceptionally good shape: more than 70 percent of its surface is covered with live corals and only a small part is occupied by green sponges (Cliona viridis) and algae.
Coral, according to scientists, is from 421 to 438 years old. It is older than the European colonization of Australia and the term "biology" - it is also one of the oldest corals on the Great Barrier Reef ever recorded.
The study's authors hope that by drawing attention to the rare giant, they can inspire future efforts to save it and other similar corals. According to them, corals are extremely important to the local ecosystem.
“Coral is like an apartment building. He attracts other species. There are other corals, fish and other organisms that use it as a shelter or food source, so it is very important to them,”the researchers say.