Monday, September 18, 2006

 

Scientists Confirm Bird's Head Seascape Is Richest on Earth (Indonesia Papua - Video)

Coral Mark Erdmann Teluk Cenderawasih National Park (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)

Update: The Conservation International website link is proving slow/unreliable. If it doesn't work, try this Washington Post link instead.

From Conservation International (CI): Not far from the Foja Mountains, where a CI team recently discovered a 'lost world' of rare plants and animals, another CI-led expedition has found a new trove of extraordinary marine biodiversity in a region known as the Bird's Head Seascape.

Scientists recently surveyed two locations in the seascape and found more than 50 new species, including sharks, shrimp, and reef-building corals. The Missouri-sized marine region is home to more than 1,200 types of reef fishes and nearly 600 species of hard corals, plus whales, sea turtles, crocodiles, giant clams, manta rays, and dugongs - all confirming the Bird's Head as perhaps Earth's richest seascape (this article contains a video).
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Reporting on the above, the Washington Post's 'Science Notebook' article New Sharks, Coral Found In Indonesian Province begins: "Researchers have discovered dozens of new marine species on the northwestern end of Indonesia's Papua province, including two new species of epaulette sharks, nicknamed 'walking sharks' because they propel themselves across the ocean floor on their pectoral fins.

A third species of the shark was originally identified in the 19th century."
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Other news sources, such as the United Arab Emirates Gulf News, carry the syndicated Reuters report "Sharks among 52 new species discovered".

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