Australia's Coral Sea 'biodiversity hotspot': study
Tuesday 23 August 2011
The Coral Sea off Australia's northeast coast is one of the last remaining places brimming with large predatory fish such as sharks and tuna, a study released Saturday found.
The study found the 972,000 square kilometre (388,800 square mile) zone stretching from the Great Barrier Reef to the waters of the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, was home to many unique and endangered species.
"The southern edge of the Coral Sea is considered a global biodiversity hotspot for ocean predators such as sharks, tunas and billfish," the Pew Environment Group commissioned report said.
"Oceanic and reef sharks have been documented in large numbers in some parts of the Coral Sea, especially in areas protected from exploitation. Deep-water sharks are known to dwell on the deep continental slopes and plateaux."
The report said while only a small part of the area had been intensely studied, available data indicated the sea held important habitats, migration corridors and ecological processes sustaining unique marine life.
Fifty-two species of deep-water sharks, rays and chimaera fish have been recorded in the Coral Sea - 18 of which are known only from there - while it also holds the world's only confirmed spawning aggregation of black marlin.
Numerous threatened and migratory whales, turtles and sharks, as well as tunas and billfish, are found in the open sea while cays provided habitat and roosting places for seabirds and nesting spots for endangered green turtles.
The southern Coral Sea also has large densities of fish and squid which, as middle-rankers in the food chain, play an important role in regulating food web stability, the report said.
In total, some 341 species recognised by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature for their conservation significance are present in the Coral Sea, the study said.
The sea also provides migration corridors for species such as humpback whales, loggerhead turtles and freshwater eels - the last of which spawn in the northern Coral Sea and migrate up to 3,000 kilometres (1,900 miles) to Australian and New Zealand coastlines.
Pew is urging the Australian government to create a permanent conservation marine park in the zone.
Saviour of the Isle of Arran's lobster population wins £117,000 'environmental Oscar'
When did it all start to go downhill for mountain biking?
Have you heard 'the hum'? Mystery of Earth's low droning noise could now be solved
Animal Extinction - the greatest threat to mankind
Invasion! Beware the killer hornet
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 3 Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
- 4 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
- 5 Google search history can now be downloaded in its entirety, mass embarrassment expected
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...
£35-45K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer / Web ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Commercial Manager is required to join a lea...