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First footage of deep Tas reef surfaces

AAP logoAAP 25/08/2016

In an Australian-first, deep-sea divers have captured footage of stunning marine life on a granite reef off the east coast of Tasmania.

The footage shows an explosion of colourful sponges, clouds of butterfly perch and large, tree-forming black corals that may be new to science, Hobart's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies said on Thursday.

The 200-metre long reef offshore from Bicheno is at depths of up to 80m and well out of reach of typical scuba divers, but using specialised equipment, experienced duo James Parkinson and Andreas Klocker embarked on a successful mission.

"The lower light levels take you below the greenish realm of kelp forests and into an incredible riot of colour and invertebrate life, with black corals swaying above bright pink corals, bright yellow, orange, red and blue sponges of all shapes and sizes," Mr Klocker said.

Researchers are hailing the footage as a breakthrough in recording the ecosystem of the Commonwealth Marine Reserve.

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