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Rare corals found off Big Island

LAST UPDATED: 1:07 a.m. HST, Jan 31, 2014

KAILUA-KONA >> A state research team has discovered a coral species that's new to the main Hawaiian islands.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Wednesday that a team of divers along the Kona coast came across a large number of coral colonies they had never seen before.

It turned out to be the first record of the coral in the main Hawaiian islands.

Senior biologist Bill Walsh led the dive team. He says the discovery will help understand local reef diversity and opens up speculation about what other rare corals may be found on Big Island reefs.

The state says the presence of this rare species in the main Hawaiian islands emphasizes the need for local marine and land-used conservation practices.

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