[Coral-List] sign on letter: Amazon Reef

John Hocevar 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 
are welcome.

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!

John Hocevar
Oceans Campaign Director
Greenpeace USA


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) 


More information about the Coral-List mailing list