Science team explores little-known reef ecosystem
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — An idyllic tropical lagoon threatened by pollution from a tuna cannery is a Pacific Ocean biodiversity hotspot, according to researchers from Nova Southeastern University, who recently surveyed the ocean off Papua New Guinea.
The study found numerous new species of marine life, including sea slugs, feather stars and amphipods. There was more variety of these indicator species found than there is along the entire length of Australia’s 1,600-mile Great Barrier Reef, said Jim Thomas, a researcher at Nova Southeastern University’s National Coral Reef Institute in Hollywood, Florida.
“In the Madang Lagoon, we went a half mile out off the leading edge of the active Australian Plate and were in 6,000 meters of water,” said Thomas, Ph.D., a researcher at Nova Southeastern University’s National Coral Reef Institute in Hollywood, Fla.
“It was once believed there were no reefs on the north coast of Papua New Guinea since there were no shallow bays and lagoons typical of most coral reef environments. But there was lots of biodiversity to be found.” Continue reading “New species found in threatened New Guinea lagoon”