The Coral Triangle Maps of the Month is a bi-weekly email running from August-December 2012 that showcases various maps that highlight the diversity and uniqueness of the Coral Triangle region. The maps also show some of the pressing issues that are threatening this very important resource considered the epicenter of the world's marine biodiversity. The maps are generated by the Coral Triangle Atlas team at The WorldFish Center.
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Map 10: Concentration of Coral Species in the Coral Triangle
Diverse marine life in Raja Ampat, Indonesia
The Coral Triangle contains the highest coral diversity in the world with 76% (605) of the world's total coral species (798). By comparison, approximately 8% of coral species (61) occur in the Caribbean. The highest coral diversity resides in the Bird's Head Peninsula of Indonesian Papua; it hosts 574 species (72% of the world's total coral species), with individual reefs supporting up to 280 species per hectare. Within the Bird's Head Peninsula, Raja Ampat is the world's coral diversity bull's eye, with 553 total species.
There is a lot of internal consistency within the Coral Triangle, with 66% of species common to all of the Coral Triangle's ecoregions and 80% of all local coral species found in the majority of its ecoregions.
Coral reefs in Milne Bay, PNG
The Coral Triangle has 15 regionally endemic coral species and shares 41 regionally endemic species with Asia. Regional centers of endemism in the Coral Triangle include the Sulu Sea and North Lesser Sunda Islands/Savu Sea in Indonesia as well as Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea. Levels of coral endemism are lower in the Coral Triangle than in some other parts of the world particularly the Red Sea/ Arabian Sea region.
One of the key sources for coral species in the Coral Triangle and in the World is Coral Geographic, developed by Dr. J.E.N. Veron. For over a decade Coral ID and Coral Geographic have been at the apex of the world's most extensive array of publications in coral reef science, as acknowledged by most research organizations concerned with reefs and hundreds of authors. These products have thus serviced several hundred research projects and conservation initiatives and have underpinned decision-making on the part of all NGOs and governments involved in reef management over the past two decades. Coral Geographic was responsible for the discovery of the Coral Triangle and its eventual delineation. It now contains details of all coral species within the region, including maps, references and environmental data. These will be released in an open access website Corals of the World in 2013.
The information on coral reef species was cited in the State of Coral Triangle Reports (SCTR) for Coral Triangle countries. Malaysia had updated information from a recent study and the CT Atlas team used this information. The SCTR is a living document that serves as a benchmark for the six Coral Triangle countries in monitoring and evaluating their progress for the Coral Triangle Initiative National and Regional Plans of Action. The report covers the status of critical ecosystem, species, resources, threats, and progress towards the goals and targets of the Coral Triangle Initiative.
The Coral Triangle Atlas is an online Geographical Information System (GIS) database providing scientists, governments and NGOs with a view of spatial data at the regional scale. This project will improve the efficiency of conservation planning in the region by giving researchers and managers access to biophysical and socioeconomic information in spatially explicit while encouraging them to share their data to complete the gaps, therefore reducing duplicate data collection efforts and providing the most complete and most current data available.
By contributing data to the CT Atlas, NGO partners, governments and managers are helping to strengthen the effectiveness of conservation activities in the Coral Triangle through improved information flow and access to the region's best datasets.
For more information about the CT Atlas and to contribute data, contact: Annick Cros at[email protected]or ReefBase at [email protected] You can also participate in discussions or submit questions to the CT Atlas forum