Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Expedition discovers marine treasures

15.02.2006


New species of fish, seaweeds found on Caribbean’s Saba Bank


Scientists have discovered more than a dozen new species of seaweeds including this unique new species of Sargassum.



An underwater mountain that forms the world’s third-largest atoll has some of the richest diversity of marine life ever found in the Caribbean, according to scientists who recently explored the area.

The two-week expedition in January encountered new species of fish, seaweed and other ocean life at little-studied Saba Bank Atoll, a coral-crowned seamount 250 kilometers southeast of Puerto Rico in the Dutch Windward Islands.


In a series of dives buffeted by high winds and strong currents, scientists from Conservation International (CI), the Netherlands Antilles government and Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History found scores more fish species than previously known in the region and vast beds of diverse seaweed, including a dozen or more possible new species.

"We discovered a new species literally every day we were there," said Michael Smith, director of CI’s Caribbean Biodiversity Initiative. Among the apparent new fish species found were two types of gobi, while the total number of fish species recorded reached 200, compared to fewer than 50 before the expedition.

The unprecedented richness of marine life and vulnerable status of the atoll’s coral beds make Saba Bank a prime candidate for designation as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) under the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Mark Littler, marine botanist of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, declared Saba Bank the richest area for seaweeds in the Caribbean basin, including as many as a dozen new species along with commercially valuable species that will facilitate the creation of economic activity zones under PSSA designation.

Paul Hoetjes, marine biologist with the Ministry of Nature Affairs for the Netherlands Antilles (MINA), called the expedition crucial to getting the area protected to benefit local populations.

"The community of about 1,500 people on nearby Saba Island derives a large part of its economy from the atoll, and the atoll is being damaged," Hoetjes said.

A petroleum trans-shipment depot on neighboring St. Eustatius Island causes significant marine traffic, including oil supertankers in the area around the submerged atoll. The fragile ecosystems of Saba Bank get damaged by anchors and chains of ships that wait at the atoll to avoid anchoring fees in territorial waters of St. Eustatius.

The large ships also endanger local fishermen of Saba in their small boats, forcing them away from traditional fishing grounds and causing the loss of fish pots that become so-called ’’ghost traps" that harm fish stocks.

Leroy Peterson, a Saba fisherman, called the expedition crucial for protecting Saba Bank’s unique marine life.

"Some of the scientists actually found new species not located anywhere else," Peterson said. "There should be no-anchor zones. For things to survive there must be stricter controls."

Paula Alvarado | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.conservation.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht New mathematical model can help save endangered species
14.01.2019 | University of Southern Denmark

nachricht Foxes in the city: citizen science helps researchers to study urban wildlife
14.12.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

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: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

Im Focus: Mission completed – EU partners successfully test new technologies for space robots in Morocco

Just in time for Christmas, a Mars-analogue mission in Morocco, coordinated by the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) as part of the SRC project FACILITATORS, has been successfully completed. SRC, the Strategic Research Cluster on Space Robotics Technologies, is a program of the European Union to support research and development in space technologies. From mid-November to mid-December 2018, a team of more than 30 scientists from 11 countries tested technologies for future exploration of Mars and Moon in the desert of the Maghreb state.

Close to the border with Algeria, the Erfoud region in Morocco – known to tourists for its impressive sand dunes – offered ideal conditions for the four-week...

Im Focus: Programming light on a chip

Research opens doors in photonic quantum information processing, optical signal processing and microwave photonics

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new integrated photonics platform that can...

Im Focus: Physicists uncover new competing state of matter in superconducting material

A team of experimentalists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and theoreticians at University of Alabama Birmingham discovered a remarkably long-lived new state of matter in an iron pnictide superconductor, which reveals a laser-induced formation of collective behaviors that compete with superconductivity.

"Superconductivity is a strange state of matter, in which the pairing of electrons makes them move faster," said Jigang Wang, Ames Laboratory physicist and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists coax proteins to form synthetic structures with method that mimics nature

15.01.2019 | Life Sciences

Next generation photonic memory devices are light-written, ultrafast and energy efficient

15.01.2019 | Information Technology

Viennese scientists develop promising new type of polymers

15.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>