The survey of a previously unexplored region in March 2006 by scientists from Conservation International and its partners documented a much greater variety of life than expected, including one fish species believed new to science and 17 others noted for the first time in the waters off Madagascar.
These findings, combined with results of a similar survey in 2002 along northwest Madagascar's coast, increased to 829 the total number of fish species in Malagasy waters. The two Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) expeditions also recorded the highest coral diversity of the western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, making the region one of the richest in Indian Ocean marine biodiversity.
The latest results provide further information on the unique marine biodiversity of Madagascar for President Marc Ravalomanana's government, which has pledged to triple the island nation's total protected areas to 6 million hectares (23,000 square miles), including 1 million hectares (3,800 square miles) of marine protected areas.
"In the end, these expeditions have doubled the number of marine species known to the region," said Sheila McKenna, director of marine biodiversity for CI's Center for Applied Biodiversity Science. "That demonstrates the need to protect these areas."
McKenna and Philippe Razafinjatovo, marine program coordinator for CI-Madagascar, led the latest expedition from March 10-24 in the region between Cape d' Ambre and Baie du Loky. The researchers conducted 27 scuba dives and also visited 12 coastal villages to examine how local residents use marine resources.
They found healthy coral reefs that have avoided bleaching attributed to climate change found in other Indian Ocean reefs. The researchers believe cool water currents from adjacent deep ocean areas offset the warming effects of climate change.
"The resiliency and health of the coral reefs with their biodiversity and endemism makes the reefs of Madagascar a high conservation priority," said Gerald R. Allen, a leading ichthyologist who conducted underwater fish surveys on the expedition.
Jean Maharavo of Madagascar's National Center for Environmental Research, who took part in both expeditions, noted that much of the island nation's marine biodiversity has yet to be studied.
"During each of these two expeditions, we discovered new fish and coral species," Maharavo said. "That shows the need to protect what's out there before we lose biodiversity that we never even knew existed."
Tom Cohen | EurekAlert!
How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.
Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy