[Coral-List] sign on letter: Amazon Reef
jhocevar at greenpeace.org
Tue Jul 18 11:54:13 EDT 2017
The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources
is currently determining next steps regarding permitting oil companies
to drill near the Amazon Reef. If you'd like to help protect this
fascinating area which has only just begun to be explored, please add
your name to the letter below. It is primarily for scientists, but all
If you'd like to sign please email your name, discipline/profession and
affiliation to Priya Surendra <priya.surendra at greenpeace.org>.
Thanks for your help!
Oceans Campaign Director
The Amazon Reef is a precious and unique ecosystem which extends for
over 9500km² off the northern coast of Brazil. Where the Amazon River
pours into the ocean, the surrounding waters are initially dark and
silty - a very unusual environment for a rich carbonate reef ecosystem
to exist. Home to pink corals, coralline algae, more than 70 species of
reef fish and more than 60 species of sponge, the Amazon Reef is a
thriving and dynamic ecosystem that has barely been explored, but may
already be under threat.
So far, only a small fraction of the reef has been investigated in any
detail, but already it appears that there is a high likelihood of new
species discoveries. The first underwater images of the Amazon Reef were
captured in early 2017, and scientists have just begun to document the
reef’s biodiversity1. Understanding of the ways in which this novel reef
ecosystem functions and interacts with the Amazon river plume and the
surrounding ocean remains very limited.
Plans to drill for oil in nearby waters pose significant pressures and
risks, whether from drilling itself or from the threat of significant
oil spills, which even the companies’ own oil spill modelling give up to
a 30% chance of reaching the reef.A spill here could negatively impact
the reef and the wider basin; an area home to vulnerable species
including the Amazonian manatee and leatherback sea turtle, among many
The priority should be to protect the reef and surrounding waters in
order to conduct further research on the reef to provide greater insight
into its species diversity, structure and function, as well as the
interconnections it has with other surrounding ecosystems, before any
decisions are made concerning further human exploitation of the area.
1 Moura et al. An extensive reef system at the Amazon River Mouth,
Science Advances, Vol 2. No 4. (2016)
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