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Britain’s Reefs Are Spectacular As Anywhere Shown in Blue Planet II

Source: The Guardian/Fiona Gell - December 6, 2017 in Adventure

Britain’s Reefs Are Spectacular As Anywhere Shown in Blue Planet II
Photo: Jim Champion/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

I won’t be alone in being mildly distraught when the BBC’s Blue Planet II series comes to an end. But as a marine biologist who switched from working on tropical reefs and seagrass beds to the cooler waters around the Isle of Man, I have become an advocate for the seas around the British Isles. That’s because they are home to an exceptional variety of marine animals and plants.

While we’re most familiar with our shallow coastal waters, offshore areas of the UK and Ireland can reach depths of over 5,000 metres. These deeper waters are home to vast, cold-water coral reefs that can be over 8,000 years old, and are as fragile and colourful as their tropical counterparts. Yet there seems to be an enduring misconception that the waters around these islands are murky, boring and largely devoid of anything exciting.

This is dangerous because, like oceans around the world, our seas are under serious threat. Unless we care about these rich ecosystems, we will lose them.

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