A deep sea exploration of a national park south of Melbourne found marine life that rivals that found at the Great Barrier Reef.
"Spectacular reefs containing colorful sponge gardens, corals and abundant fish species are just some of the features recorded during the recent scientific expeditions," reported Australia's Parks Victoria, which provides government oversight of the area.
A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) recorded observations of sea life at about 100-330 feet deep. Previous research mapped the marine parks seafloor, but the deep sea life there was unknown.
"The resulting footage shows that the deep reef habitats are teeming with life and are home to rich and abundant marine ecosystems that are comparable to Australia's better-known tropical reef areas," said Parks Victoria Marine Science Manager Steffan Howe.
"The extent and abundance of spectacular sponge gardens and corals is a particularly exciting find."
Among the discoveries, reported Parks Victoria, were "massive coral fans ... house-sized boulders, ridges and caverns with a diverse range of colorful sponges, hard and soft corals and abundant fish life."