Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Coral Triangle

No we're not trying to copy Bermuda and their famous triangle that seems to take planes, vessels and lives without warning.

No we're talking about a region of the earths ocean described by the World Wild Life Fund WWF as....

No other place on Earth is as rich and varied in marine life as the Coral Triangle. Spanning Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Northern Australia, this extraordinary expanse of ocean covers some 5.7 million square kilometres. The Coral Triangle echoes the richness and diversity of the Amazon rainforest.
I know it doesn't look much like a triangle, try this one. Here we are clearly within the boundaries!
I realize the primary area of the triangle is Indonesia and surrounding countries but it is important to note that the Marianas does sit within this important ecological zone.
We do in fact contribute to the vast array of species this region accounts for. We have rare hard corals and other critters the scientific community recognizes as occurring here and perhaps no where else. In fact it was in my first year on Saipan that a group of researchers found 8 previously unnamed species of fish. See link here. Then on another survey this was a quote from the NOAA team after returning from the Northern Islands in 2003. See Tribune story here

“Many of these species are new records for these islands, as very few previous surveys have been conducted at most of these islands. Many species were also present in the size ranges at which they recruit from the plankton, or as very young juveniles,” the team said.

I think it's also important to note that in relative terms the scientific community has barely scratched the surface when it comes to surveying our vast waters. Who knows what else is out there just waiting to be discovered. We know there are plenty more dive sites around the Islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota that are worth discovering and going to on a regular basis. We also know that divers have witnessed the mating of two different species of nudibranchs a phenomenon that was previously just a theory but now thanks to Harry (The Nudibranch whisperer) it's been witnessed. Bottom line is when we say we are privileged to dive in some of the most diverse waters of the world it is true!

Now isn't it just a little more appealing to live in the triangle that breeds diversity rather than swallow up ships and planes like a giant black hole. Perhaps just one more advantage we have over our Caribbean counterparts!

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