A team of marine science and environment experts discovered a 10-meter high, 600-year-old huge coral colony south of Al-Waqadi Island, in Tabuk region northwestern Saudi Arabia, announced the Red Sea Development Company (RSDC) on Monday.
In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the company said “the rare discovery is the first of its kind in the Red Sea region, estimated at hundreds of years old, which was measured through the size and number of rings that grow annually on the colony’s outer structure, in addition to the presence of giant redwood trees, a historic reference for the past centuries.”
The company added that the colony will enable scientists to read the rings of coral reefs and learn more about the ocean temperature in previous years, and its chemical composition at the time.
RSDC said the discovery highlights the beauty of marine life on Al-Waqadi Island, west of the Red Sea project, the most attracting tourist destination in the world, which will put the Kingdom on the world tourism map.
Coral reefs are living creatures, and their beauty is usually formed when the initial coral unit adheres to a rock in the sea where the seabed and its bases contain a solid structure of limestone, and then this unit begins to divide into thousands of cloned colonies before these creatures are linked to each other to create a colony that behaves as one organism.
The company stressed that “the importance of these coral colonies lies in the fact that they form a habitat for a huge number of fish and non-vertebrate animals, and that several reasons affect the life cycle of coral reefs, where they die if they are buried by sediments or covered by algae that thrive in polluted aquatic environments, or when their ecosystem is disrupted due to overfishing,” according to SPA.
RSDC said they will work to enhance coral reefs’ environments and increase their ecological diversity in the project area, calling on communities to preserve all sea creatures without exception by reducing threats to marine life such as pollution and overfishing.