We couldn’t find weapons of mass destruction, but we did manage to finds us a reef. Sorry that we had to go there, but it’s true, there has been a coral reef discovered in Iraq for the first time ever. Published in the journal Scientific Reports by Thomas Pohl and his colleagues from the Institute for Geology Scientific Diving Center in Germany, several different species of coral were found not only surviving, but thriving in the muddy and cool waters pouring out of the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab River in southeastern Iraq. The newly discovered coral reef covers an area of 28 square km and plays home to corals from the genera Platygyra, Turbinaria, Tubastrea, Porites, Astroides and Goniastrea. Many Ophiurrid starfish and sponges were also discovered on the reef, with the presence of the sponges being the most shocking due to their sensitivities to suspended sediments.
To view the paper in its entirety, be sure to visit Nature.