140px NOAA logo.svg Seven new bamboo corals discovered in Hawaii A NOAA* expedition by has discovered seven new species of Bamboo corals (family Isididae) in the deep waters off Hawaii Six of them may belong to en entirely new genus.

The findings were made within the Papah Naumoku Kea Marine National Monument, one of the biggest marine conservation areas in the world.

These discoveries are important, because deep-sea corals support diverse seafloor ecosystems and also because these corals may be among the first marine organisms to be affected by ocean acidification,” said Dr Richard Spinrad, NOAA’s assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

The NOAA expedition made a lot of other interesting findings in addition to the new species, including a five foot (roughly 150 cm) tall Yellow bamboo coral tree and a 600 meter deep coral graveyard comprising an area of more 1 square kilometre. It is difficult to determine when the corals in the graveyard died; it could have happened a few thousand years back as well as more than one million years ago – or anytime in between.

Old corals can provide us with a lot of information about Earth’s history and how the oceans have changed over time since corals produce growth rings in a fashion similar to that of trees.

Studying these corals can help us understand how they survive for such long periods of time, as well as how they may respond to climate change in the future,” said Rob Dunbar, a Stanford University scientist.

* The US Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)