Navigation Links
Expedition discovers marine treasures

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."


'"/>

Source:Conservation International


Related biology news :

1. IBM Transforms the Art of Scientific Expeditions
2. UCSD team discovers specialized, rare heart stem cells in newborns
3. University of Nevada, Reno research team discovers hormone that causes malaria mosquito to urinate
4. MIT chemist discovers secret behind natures medicines
5. Mayo Clinic collaboration discovers protein amplifies DNA injury signals
6. Team discovers possible universal strategy to combat addiction
7. Nobelist discovers antidepressant protein in mouse brain
8. Joslin discovers signs of residual islet cell function in people with long-term type 1 diabetes
9. Contrary to common wisdom, scientist discovers some mammals can smell objects under water
10. U of S Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization team discovers key step in flu virus replication
11. LSU professor discovers new species
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:5/9/2016)... , UAE, May 9, 2016 ... when it comes to expanding freedom for high net ... Even in today,s globally connected world, there is ... conferencing system could ever duplicate sealing your deal with ... obtaining second passports by taking advantage of citizenship via ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to ... period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being ... the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for ...
(Date:4/13/2016)...  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... standard in telehealth thanks to a new partnership with ... IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health measurements, such ... and, when they opt in, share them with IMPOWER ... local retail location at no cost. By leveraging this ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... Hill, N.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 ... ... U.S. commercial operations for Amgen, will join the faculty of the University ... serve as adjunct professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... BOSTON , June 27, 2016   Ginkgo ... biology to industrial engineering, was today awarded as ... a selection of the world,s most innovative companies. ... at scale for the real world in the ... organism engineers work directly with customers including Fortune ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid biopsy ... PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) ... test has already been incorporated into numerous clinical ... Over 230 clinical trials are investigating ... PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs targeting ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal articles ... findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: