5 new reefs discovered in the Gulf of Mexico

The five ecosystems are located in the seas of Veracruz and cover a surface of more than 1,100 hectares

5 new reefs discovered in the Gulf of Mexico
Reefs are a fundamental piece in the food chain and works as refuges for sea species – Photo: James W. Porter/REUTERS
English 23/07/2019 17:38 Notimex Mexico City Actualizada 17:38
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Five new reefs submerged in the southwest of the Gulf of Mexico were found by researchers from the National Technological Institute of Mexico (TecNM), campus Boca del Río, in collaboration with the Institute of Sea Sciences and Fisheries of the University of Veracruz (UV) and the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA).

In a press release, they informed that the coral reefs are located inside and outside the National Park Reef System of Veracruz, and were unknown by the authorities and, thus, the specialists ask for a legal protection scheme for these ecosystems in front of the extraction of oil and development projects.

The discovery is the result of the works performed by researchers in the seas of Veracruz in search of unknown structures: the five reefs are the first exploration and documentation to be carried out, they said.

According to the researchers Ana Lilia Gutiérrez Velázquez, from the TecNM, and Leonardo Ortiz Lozano, from the UV, together, the reefs cover a surface of more than 1,100 hectares, which highlights the relevance of this research.

They say that the reef Piedras Altas stands out: it is located in the mouth of the Tecolutla river, which represents the biggest surface with 388 hectares. As well as the reef Corazones, located in front of the Tamiahua Lagoon, which is almost 5 kilometers long, and 700 meters width, which sets it as the longest and northern reported by this time.

Also noteworthy are the reefs of Los Gallos and Camaronera, located between Antón Lizardo and the Papaloapan river, that have relevant ecosystems for the marine fauna, like sponges, algae and other invertebrates.

The researchers remark that this kind of ecosystems are characterized by being under the sea surface, in depths superior to 8 meters and up to a little more than 40 meters, so they are a fundamental piece in the food chain; likewise, they embody an important refuge to species that flee from the rising temperature of the oceans.

Students of the major in Biology of the TecNM campus Boca del Río and the postgraduate degree in Ecology and Fisheries of the University of Veracruz participated in the research and had the support of the Mexican Center for Environmental Law.

The discovery of the submerged structures is located in the region falling within the Tamiahua Lagoon and the Tecolutla river, as well as between the locality of Antón Lizardo and Arbolillo, all of them in the coasts of Veracruz.

The researchers will manage the protection and declaration as protected areas of the new reef structures before the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP).


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