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New species and new records of marine species discovered in NW Hawaiian Islands

t is currently lacking for coral reef ecosystems around the world.

Chief Scientist Dr. Russell Brainard of NOAA Fisheries Coral Reef Ecosystem Division was very pleased with the results from this Census of Coral Reefs expedition in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. "I hope the positive results from this CReefs expedition will demonstrate the usefulness of these types of intensive biodiversity surveys for understanding and conserving the coral reef ecosystems of Hawaii and elsewhere around the globe. A comprehensive understanding of the biodiversity of our marine areas is necessary so that we can be better stewards of our ocean resources through ecosystem approaches to management."

Expedition members not only collected the organisms, but they took hundreds of stunning images that show these organisms in all their spectacular complexity and beauty using an impressive arsenal of photographic equipment. Many of these images can be seen on the expedition websites. In addition to the photographs taken by the scientists, Susan Middleton, who recently co-produced a photographic book for National Geographic on the plants and animals of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands called "Archipelago: Portraits of Life in the World's Most Remote Island Sanctuary," was onboard and glued to her camera the majority of the time.

"It is not until you start looking through the macro lens at these organisms, and give them time to get settled, that you start to see the vibrant colors, the fine hairs covering a crab's shell, the flecks of color in the translucent tentacles of an anemone, the incredible evolutionary adaptations for survival," she said. "It is then that I realize how infinitely complex life is on a coral reef, and how grateful I am to these scientists for helping me to see organisms that have spent millions of years evolving colors, shapes, and behaviors in order not to be seen."

Dr. Gustav Paulay, Curator of Invertebrates for
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Contact: Megan Moews
megan.moews@noaa.gov
808-348-3738
Census of Marine Life
30-Oct-2006


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