Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Earth's Most Diverse Marine Life Found Off Indonesia's Papua Province

25.09.2006
New Species of Sharks, Shrimp, Coral Need Protection

Two recent expeditions led by Conservation International (CI) to the heart of Asia's "Coral Triangle" discovered dozens of new species of marine life including epaulette sharks, "flasher" wrasse and reef-building coral, confirming the region as the Earth's richest seascape.

The unmatched marine biodiversity of the Bird's Head Seascape, named for the shape of the distinctive peninsula on the northwestern end of Indonesia's Papua province, includes more than 1,200 species of fish and almost 600 species of reef-building (scleractinian) coral, or 75 percent of the world's known total.

Researchers described an underwater world of visual wonders, such as the small epaulette shark that "walks" on its fins and colorful schools of reef fish populating abundant and healthy corals of all shapes and sizes.

Threats from over-fishing with dynamite and cyanide, as well as deforestation and mining that degrade coastal waters, require immediate steps to protect the unique marine life that sustains local communities. The seascape's central location in the Coral Triangle of the Pacific, which exports and maintains biodiversity in the entire Indo-Pacific marine realm, makes it one of the planet's most urgent marine conservation priorities.

"These Papuan reefs are literally 'species factories' that require special attention to protect them from unsustainable fisheries and other threats so they can continue to benefit their local owners and the global community," said Mark Erdmann, senior adviser of CI's Indonesian Marine Program, who led the surveys. "Six of our survey sites, which are areas the size of two football fields, had over 250 species of reef-building coral each - that's more than four times the number of coral species of the entire Caribbean Sea."

Though human population density in the region is low, the coastal people of the Bird's Head peninsula are heavily dependent on the sea for their livelihoods - which now are under threat from a plan to transfer fishing pressures from Indonesia's over-fished western seas to the east toward Papua province.

"The coastal villages we surveyed were mostly engaged in subsistence fishing, farming and gathering, and they require healthy marine ecosystems to survive," said Paulus Boli, a State University of Papua researcher led the socioeconomic component of the expeditions. "We are very concerned about the potential impact of planned commercial fisheries expansion in the region, and we urge a precautionary approach that emphasizes sustainability over intensive exploitation."

The two Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) surveys earlier this year, along with a third expedition in 2001, studied waters surrounding Papua province from Teluk Cenderawasih in the north to the Raja Ampat archipelago off the western coast and southeast to the FakFak-Kaimana coastline. A few hundred kilometers inland are Papua's Foja Mountains, where a team led by CI and the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) last year discovered a virtual "Lost World" of new species of birds, butterflies, frogs and other wildlife.

Off the coast, researchers found more than 50 species of fish, coral and mantis shrimp previously unknown to science in the Bird's Head Seascape that covers 18 million hectares, including 2,500 islands and submerged reefs. The seascape also includes the largest Pacific leatherback turtle nesting area in the world, and migratory populations of sperm and Bryde's whales, orcas and several dolphin species.

"We're thankful to the Ministry of Forestry and CI for the significant data from these surveys, and we are excited to be planning further surveys in 2007 to fill in remaining data gaps that will help us plan the most effective management possible for this exceedingly crucial area," said Dr. Suharsono, head of LIPI's Oceanography Center.

Only 11 percent of the seascape is currently protected, most of it in the Teluk Cenderawasih National Park that is supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Indonesia (WWF-Indonesia). Results of the CI-led surveys highlight the need for a well-managed network of multiple-use Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to conserve the seascape's biodiversity and ensure the long-term sustainability of commercial and subsistence fishing.

Partners in the two 2006 surveys funded by the Walton Family Foundation included the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry's Department of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation and its local offices in Papua; Teluk Cenderawasih National Park Authority, the State University of Papua, and WWF-Indonesia.

Tom Cohen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.conservation.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Taming 'wild' electrons in graphene

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mountain glaciers shrinking across the West

23.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

Scientists track ovarian cancers to site of origin: Fallopian tubes

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>