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The oceans top 10 coral reef hotspots identified for first time

Study sounds alarm for extinctions of marine species

Washington, D.C. -- The worlds top 10 coral reef hotspots, rich in marine species found only in small areas and therefore highly vulnerable to extinction, are identified for the first time in a study by the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS) at Conservation International and published in the Feb. 15 issue of Science magazine.

The paper contradicts a long-held contention that marine species are unlikely to become extinct as a consequence of human activities because of their vast geographic ranges in the oceans. CABS conducted the study in order to identify priority areas for coral reef conservation.

We know that unless we take action right away, marine species will start going extinct, because you lose biodiversity as a consequence of habitat destruction. This study can help us create an urgently needed strategy that targets the places where biodiversity is bleeding away most rapidly, said Dr. Callum Roberts, of the University of York, lead author of the report.

The 10 coral reef hotspots, ranked according to the degree of threat, are:

  • 1. Philippines
  • 2. Gulf of Guinea
  • 3. Sunda Islands
  • 4. Southern Mascarene Islands
  • 5. Eastern South Africa
  • 6. Northern Indian Ocean
  • 7. Southern Japan, Taiwan and southern China
  • 8. Cape Verde Islands
  • 9. Western Caribbean
  • 10. Red Sea and Gulf of Aden

These 10 hotspots account for a tiny 0.017 percent of the oceans, but claim a staggering 34 percent of restricted-range species. The study identified a total of 18 areas with the greatest concentrations of species found nowhere else, and determined the hotspots category based on threats.

The oceans have long been considered limitless places where we have little impact on species survival. But the richest of the shallow tropical marine habita
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Contact: Brad Phillips
b.phillips@conservation.org
202-912-1532
Conservation International
14-Feb-2002


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