The island, which is managed by the Seychelles Centre of Marine Research and Technology-Marine Protected Areas (SCMRT-MPA), is home to over 200 giant tortoises but no coral reefs were believed to exist.
Earthwatch scientists have evidence that the new reef supports a large number of mega-fauna. It also shows signs of destruction and partial recovery from the 2004 tsunami.
The research project is conducting experiments to test species' abilities to tolerate climate change, in the hope that findings may help to predict the fate of coral reefs and inform conservation plans. The results have already prompted local authorities to establish a centre of marine field-based research on the Island.
Dr Smith says, ‘Our studies demonstrate that there are clear physiological differences between tolerant and sensitive species. This will change the way we design future experiments to predict the fate of coral reefs faced with climate change.'
Earthwatch scientists Dr. Dave Smith and Dr. Dave Suggett from Essex University have discovered a coral reef in the Seychelles off Curieuse Island, as part of a research project funded by Mitsubishi Corporation.
The reef shows signs of destruction from the 2004 tsunami.