Teluk Buli (Buli Bay)
N 00º47.457' E 128º 19.279'
We have now sailed 800km and reached the half way point of our journey. The species count continues to rise. So far we have recorded 460 confirmed coral species and 30 or so that require further study and may add to the list.
There may even be some new species in there! Local diversity has also been very impressive throughout, with the highest coral species count per site recorded from any reef location globally occurring right here on this trip in Halmahera.
Why is Halmahera so diverse?
Location, location, location!
Coral reef fish species are also accumulating at a record pace, with 975 species recorded from Halmahera to date, including new species of dottyback and spinecheek. Many of the species counts for each site are over 200 species, which is again considered excellent on the world scale. 147 species of crustaceans (including 26 species of mantis shrimp) and 42 species of echinoderm have also been recorded.
So Halmahera is living up to our expectation as one of the most diverse areas on the planet.
Why is Halmahera so diverse? There are several reasons. Firstly, as the real estate agents like to say, it's "location, location, location." Halmahera has a highly diverse range of coastal and marine habitats and is situated in the heart of the Coral Triangle (CT), which has the highest tropical marine diversity on earth.
||"High diversity areas have lots of weird and wonderful species, in many shapes, sizes and colours. "|
Despite encompassing less than 2% of the world's oceans, the CT comprises staggering proportion of the biodiversity –approximately 30% of the world's coral reefs, 76% of the coral species, and almost 40% of the world's coral reef fish species.
The extraordinarily high diversity of this area is due to a number of causes. The Coral Triangle is located equatorially where the Pacific and Indian Oceans meet, and so it comprises species from both oceans. Geological processes including plate tectonics and sea level changes have also played important roles, with coral reef species evolving and persisting during low sea level events, while reefs in many other parts of the world were high and dry.
Whatever the reason, it is clear that the large area and extraordinary range of habitats and environmental conditions have played a major role in maintaining the staggering biodiversity of Halmahera in particular and the Coral Triangle more generally.
High diversity areas have lots of weird and wonderful species, in many shapes, sizes and colours. Here are some examples from the Coral Triangle:
– Ali and the biodiversity team
(Indra, Ucu, Emre, Lyndon, Gerry and Mark)
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