As taken from a post by Beth Buczynski for

For the first time in over 100 years, a colony of Pacific elkhorn coral (Acropora rotumana) has been spotted in the remote North Pacific Ocean.

Researchers from Australia's Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) found the coral during an underwater survey of the Arno atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The Pacific elkhorn coral got its name from the long, horn-like branches it develops over thousands of years. The colony found by the CoECRE researchers was especially large, measuring 16 feet (5 meters) across and nearly 7 feet (2 m) high.

According to LiveScience, the coral colony looks like the critically endangered elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) of the Atlantic Ocean, but genetic analysis has shown that the Atlantic and Pacific varieties are different species.

Part of the dominant genus of reef-building corals, researchers are very interested in learning how the Pacific version lives, and hope that it will provide clues about these exotic marine creatures that will help determine their conservation status.

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