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Semporna, Malaysia- The World's Richest Waters?
By Joseph Tepper, February 25, 2011 @ 09:06 AM (EST)
Source: Science Blog

Preliminary results from the Semporna Marine Ecological Expedition conducted in December indicate that the coastal waters of this Malaysian town may be the world's most diverse.

Among other statistics, the expedition revealed a record breaking 43 species of mushroom coral, two new species of shrimp, and handful of newly discovered gall crabs, reef fish, ovulid snails, and algae. The eighteen members of the team also discovered some less exciting statistics, including 36% percent of the reef that had poor live coral cover.



"Mushroom corals can be used as a proxy for other coral richness,” said Dr Bert Hoeksema, Head of Department of Marine Zoology at NCB Naturalis. "Where we find high richness of mushroom corals, we usually find extremely high richness of other corals.”

In addition the the staggering diversity of mushroom coral, the scientists also encountered numbers of fish species that rivaled those in the Philippines and Indonesia. The expedition hopes that its results  -the area's blossoming diversity and less-than-desirable reef health- will be a good basis on which to built a sustainable management system for the reefs of Semporna, and the rest of the region.




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