Coral growing on North Sea oil rigs

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These installations are home to thriving colonies of an endangered cold-water coral.


This summer the coral Lophelia pertusa was found growing on oil platforms in the North Sea and on the Brent Spar oil-storage buoy during its decommissioning. The findings indicate that Lophelia has a wider distribution and a more rapid rate of growth than previously believed. The discovery also has implications for the debate over oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean and the perceived benefits of onshore dismantling of deep-water platforms.

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Correspondence to Niall Bell.

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Bell, N., Smith, J. Coral growing on North Sea oil rigs. Nature 402, 601 (1999) doi:10.1038/45127

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