CURRENT BIODIVERSITY CONCERNS
Elpidio V. Peria
14 June 2015
News reports recently came out the past week about some findings by US marine biologists of some unique marine specimens in Verde Island Passage, an area described by a Conservation International (CI) report in 2010 as a Marine Biodiversity Conservation Corridor and located by Wikipedia as a strait that separates the islands of Luzon and Mindoro, connecting the South China Sea with the Tayabas Bay and the Sibuyan Sea.
According to studies cited by the said CI report, and coral reef assessments done by CI-Philippines, 319 coral species belonging to 74 coral genera have been observed in the passage and as noted by Carpenter and Springer in 2005, more than half of the documented fish species worldwide overlap in this area of the Philippines. The same scientists also describe the area as the center of the center of shore fish biodiversity since there is a higher concentration of species per unit area in the Philippines than anywhere in Indonesia, including Wallacea, an area which encompasses the island groups of Sulawesi, Moluccas, Halmahera, and the Lesser Sunda Islands
These newly-discovered species, of which around 12 unique species are beautifully laid out in a post by Rappler, one particularly colorful picture is set out below, highlight the beauty of the underwater ecosystem, which we are now only beginning to get a sense of.
Multi-colored tunicates in Verde Island Passage
Photo by Gary Williams, California Academy of Sciences
Courtesy of Rappler
R. Boquiren, G. Di Carlo, and M.C. Quibilan (Eds). 2010.Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of the Verde Island Passage, Philippines . Technical report. Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, USA, from ian.umces.edu/pdfs/ian_report_315.pdf, accessed 14 June 2015.
Kent E. Carpenter and Victor G. Springer (2005), The center of the center of shore fish biodiversity : The Philippine Islands, Environmental Biology of Fishes (2005) 72: 467-480, from https://sci.odu.edu/biology/directory/carpenter_files/CarpenterSpringerEFB2005CenterofCenter.pdf, accessed 14 June 2015.
Pia Ranada, (2015), IN PHOTOS : 12 ‘rare and new’ species in Verde Island Passage, Rappler, 12 June 2015, from http://www.rappler.com/science-nature/environment/96129-new-species-verde-island-passage, accessed 14 June 2015.