New Fish Species in Papahanaumokuakea

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

The extreme diversity of marine life in Papahanaumokuakea is sustained by coral reefs.

After an expedition in the waters of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, explorers discovered three new Hawaii fish species.

The scientific mission started on the 22nd of May and continued until the 15th of June, and its objectives were the exploration of the northwestern Hawaii.

One of the new species is the Hawaiian Pigfish, a beautifully red striped creature. The male was found almost 300 feet below the surface.

The official representatives declared that the exploration team collected specimens from two new Hawaii fish species and managed to film the third one.

“It’s actually kind of surprising to find new species of fishes, but we did actually collect specimens of two or three potential new species. But then again it kind of speaks to the fact that these deep coral reefs are very poorly explored and that there is a lot that is yet to discover,” said Randy Kosaki, an expedition team member.

Scientists made another discovery that was related to a more serious issue. The coral mortality in the region continued years after the mass bleaching problem in 2014.

In 2015, 90% of the coral reefs that surrounded Lisianski Island were found to be dead. This year’s expedition revealed that now the dead coral was flooded with green algae blooms.

Another objective of the team was the study of the coral reefs, for which the scientists used 3-dimensional images in order to seize the complexity of structure and habitat.

The three specimens will be the subject of further research, and they will be preserved at the Bishop Museum.

The modern biological classification of species is used as an informational support in conservation and biodiversity issues. The organisms are classified based on their overall similarity, their phylogeny, and their evolutionary relationships.

The most comprehensive catalog of known species is The Catalogue of Life, financed by several projects between 2003 and 2013. The list can be found online.

The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument will celebrate ten years of existence. At the moment of its creation, the zone was the largest protected area in the world. It was also the starting point for marine protection, and now there are 19 large-scale marine protected areas in the world.

The monument is listed as a World Heritage element that has both cultural and natural values, and it includes ten islands and atolls.

Nearly 3% of the global ocean surface is protected.

Image Source: Wikipedia