A rocky reef... not a coral reef!
ABOUT PROJECT REEF
The Project Reef has not been formally mapped, so it’s absolute shape and size is unknown... The dives to date indicate that it is at least 100 metres in length and has various heights!
The maximum height is around 2.5metres.
There are numerous shelves and crevices within the reef, providing a superb habitat for organisms to shelter, hide and grow!
WHY 'PROJECT REEF' ?
Most reefs are nameless, many known only to local divers and fishers . . .this was the case for the ‘Project Reef’.
Coordinates were given to the Project Team by one of the South Taranaki Underwater Club members, as he thought it would be highly suitable for us to study and capture footage of.
The Project hopes in time to investigate other reefs off South Taranaki.
“Compared with reefs in other temperate regions of the world, NZ’s rocky reefs have almost twice the number of species per unit area”.
- The Living Reef The Ecology of NZ’s rocky reefs (Page 80)
“Subtidal rocky reefs provide some of the most stunning ‘landscapes’ in New Zealand.”
- The Living Reef The Ecology of NZ’s rocky reefs (Page 14)
How does the reef feel?
The Project Reef is incredibly hard and has numerous fossilised shells within it.
No formal dating has occurred*, but the following very tentative insights have been gained. Firstly that in a small piece retrieved from the reef were the remains of organisms, includes what appears to be an oyster – a species often seen in Nukumaruan limestone.
This limestone is about 2 million years old and it is possible this is what is forming the substrate of the Project Reef.
How old is Project Reef?
The geology of the seabed where the Project Reef resides falls in a likely broad range of the Pliocene (34 000 years ago to 2.5 million years ago) to Pleistocene (2.5 million - 5.33 million years ago). |
Shell/fossil beds are common features along the Taranaki-Whanganui coastline The sequences of shell bed, sand and mud layers represent differing sea-levels from changing climates over thousands and millions of years.
(The photo shows a dead piece of reef, when alive it'd be covered in colourful life).