Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scientists spot beauties in Bali

Researchers say they've seen nine potentially new species in the waters surrounding one of the world's most exotic locales, the island of Bali — but they've also seen the damage that humans can do to a once-pristine environment.
The good-news, bad-news report comes from Conservation International, a nonprofit group that has been cataloging new species and the perils they face for decades. Over the past three years, Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program has documented 953 species of fish and 397 species of coral in Bali's reefs.
The group is working with local partners at the request of the Bali provincial government and fisheries officials, who are looking for advice on how best to protect the region's marine riches.
"We carried out this present survey in 33 sites around Bali, nearly completing a circle around it, and were impressed by much of what we saw," Mark Erdmann, senior adviser for the CI Indonesia marine program, said in a news release. "There was a tremendous variety of habitats, surprisingly high levels of diversity, and the coral reefs appeared to be in an active stage of recovery from bleaching, destructive fishing and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks in the 1990s."
This year, a two-week survey identified eight species of fish and one species of coral that may be new to science, Conservation International said. Those species include two types of cardinalfish, two varieties of dottyfish, a sandperch, a fangblenny, a garden eel, a goby fish and a previously unknown type of bubble coral.

Check out this slideshow to see the marine menagerie.

Read full article by Alan Boyle

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