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Nine New Marine Species Discovered in Bali
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by in Marinelife


A two week long survey conducted by Conservation International (CI) and its local partners in Indonesia led to the discovery of nine potential new marine species including eight fish species and a coral reef species.

Euphyllia new bubble coral © Conservation International/Mark Erdmann

The government of Bali and Department of Fisheries and Marine Affairs had asked CI to conduct its survey under the 20 year long Rapid Assessment Program (RAP). This was done to find out the health of 25 areas in Bali that would be eventually turned into Marine Protected areas.

Among the nine potentially new species documented by scientists in these areas were two species of cardinalfish, two varieties of dottybacks, a garden eel, a sand perch, a fang blenny, a new species of goby and a previously unknown Euphyllia bubble coral.

© Conservation International/Mark Erdmann

Before the species can be definitely tagged to be new, more study has to be done to confirm the taxonomy of all the species.

“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” said Dr. Mark Erdmann, senior advisor for the CI Indonesia marine program. “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 1990’s.”

The condition of the coral reef also showed marked improvement as compared to a survey conducted 12 years ago and that is why experts feel the area needs immediate marine protection.

Acting Executive Director for CI-Indonesia Ketut Sarjana Putra added, “Compared to twelve years ago, we observed an increase in healthy coral reef cover in the area surveyed, indicating a recovery phase. That is why it needs serious protection and management, to complete”

The area of concern though was the increasing plastic pollution, severe depletion of commercially important reef fishes and very few sharks.

With the discovery and as per the data of a previous survey done in 2008, there are 953 species of reef fish and 397 species of coral in the waters off the coast of Bali.

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About the Author

Atula is a writer, traveler and a nature-lover. She is also mom to a boy who seems to have inherited all her creative genes. When Atula is not busy making up stories with her son, she writes for numerous magazines, websites and blogs. She is also working on her site on endangered species called indiasendangered.com.

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