An unsuspected ecosystem under the murky waters of the mouth of the Amazon

The Reef That No One Saw

It is possible to see from space the great brown water spot that the Amazon launches in the Atlantic Ocean. The plume, a name that scientists give to the freshwater mass brought by the river, can occupy an area larger than that of Pará. The muddy appearance is due to the number of sticks, stones, plant remains and bugs, debris and sediments of the whole accumulated in almost 7 thousand kilometers of route. The Amazon is born in the Andes mountain range, in Peru, at more than 5 thousand meters of altitude, and cuts the continent from the outside until it ends at the height of the island of Marajó, dividing the states of Pará and Amapá. Depending on how it is measured, it is the most extensive of the rivers; others will say that it is the Nile. But at one point all converge: the Amazon is the most flowing watercourse in the world. During the flood periods, in a single second, it pours into the ocean a volume sufficient to fill 120 Olympic pools.

In May 1975, an American vessel - Oregon II - sailed the northern Brazilian coast on a scientific cruise that sought to assess shrimp stocks in those waters. In the vicinity of the Amazon, the networks launched by the crew returned loaded with fish that should not be there, characteristic species of places where there are reefs in the sea bottom. Also appeared a profusion of sponges, rudimentary animals that feed on organic matter filtered from the water. They were so plentiful that researchers said there was a "sponge fund" in the area.

Currently the Graduate Program in Ecology has three teachers (Ma Lucia, Rodolfo Paranhos and Rodrigo Leão) and a student (Laís Araújo) involved in this project. As activities will be resumed at the mouth of the Amazon in the second half of 2018, we want to attract at least one more graduate to this front.

To know more of this news access the link: (


Old News

Previous News

© 2016 Postgraduate Program in ecology - UFRJ - All rights reserved. Commercial reproduction of the exposed material is not allowed. Made with by DAP