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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wish I Were Here

Lots of divers will have nothing to do with the small stuff; it's sharks and mantas and such that gets their blood racing. But there's something to be said for those dives that provide big thrills in small packages.

Marine biologist Richard Mooi is enjoying such an excursion, and he's sharing the experience on the "Scientist at Work" blog:
We are focusing our shallow-water survey on the Verde Island Passage, a marine region felt to be the “center of the center” of Indo-Pacific marine biodiversity. The passage is already home to more documented species than any other marine habitat on earth, and its diverse list of species grows by the day. For example, we are just short of 800 species of sea slugs alone (of which a large proportion are new to science). I am astonished by the number of sea urchin species, which reached 37 just today. Although that figure is not as grandiose as other tallies, even in this small region I have seen more echinoderm species than ever before. I learned today from the Philippine scientists working with us here in Mabini that they found more than 50 species of reef-building corals in a single dive just this morning.

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