February 18, 2016. Life / Oceans
A hotspot is defined as an area of relatively restricted geographic range that contains an extraordinarily high concentration of biodiversity and endemism.
Cristina G. Mittermeier, Gregory S. Stone, Russell A. Mittermeier, Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, Claudio Campagna, Kent E. Carpenter, Laurence P. Madin, David Obura, Enric Sala, Sebastian Troëng, Peter A. Seligman & Stefan Gutermuth
The first authors to apply the hotspot concept to the marine realm found eighteen hotspots, based on the distribution patterns of 1,700 reef fish, 804 coral species, 662 mollusks and 69 species of lobster. These areas ranged in size from Easter Island to the entire Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Though the methodology has been modified, the identification of marine hotspots remains an integral part of conservation efforts around the globe.
No place on the planet contains more marine species than the Coral Triangle, a region that extends from central Indonesia to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands northward to the Philippines. For example, the Coral Triangle has 605 species of zooxanthellate corals, which amounts to 76% of the world’s species complement.
Unfortunately, this part of Southeast Asia is also among the most threatened marine regions of the world. The extremely high density of human inhabitants and consequent effects of overfishing and careless land use make the species inhabiting the Coral Triangle vulnerable to heightened extinction risk.
This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Conservation Series Book Oceans: Heart of Our Blue Planet (2011)