Comoros (Photo: iStock)
The Comoros coral reefs have the highest concentration of coral marine species within a small area, in the world. The islands offer one of the world’s largest coral atolls which parades hundreds of fish species, shells, and corals. To many, it is paradise through and through.
September 2018 will see the start of an exciting research project funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) into the Comoros Archipelago.
A research team has disembarked with the aim to study the marine biodiversity and fish abundance in the deeper (benthic) ecosystems in the Comoros. Research will be led by chief scientist Melita Samoilys, Director of Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO). The deeper habitats that this project will focus on are unexplored and unknown and need protection.
“We will be exploring the unknown areas to understand where the sensitive areas are and where the protection should be. We look forward to working with the University of Comoros and the Fisheries Directorate scientists and their students in the Comoros Archipelago, looking at their deeper habitats, deeper than 40 metres. This study will be important for sustaining inshore fisheries, as well as climate refuges,” said Dr Jean Harris, Executive Director of WILDOCEANS.
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Reefs are integral to the overall ecosystem and are an essential component of everyday human existence.
Reefs not only provide habitat for most ocean fish consumed by humans, but they also shelter land from storm surges and rising sea levels. Coral has even been found to have medicinal properties.
SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruth: Ocean plastics raise risk of coral reef disease
Local scientists and students, primarily from the University of Comoros, will contribute to gaining insights into conducting fish community surveys around the island on board the WILDOCEANS’ oceanic research vessel, the RV Angra Pequena.
While the main aim is to significantly advance scientific knowledge about nature and the condition of these important habitats, it is also important that local community members are well acquainted with their surrounding environment, by being made aware of marine biodiversity and its value for sustaining human well-being and livelihoods.
SEE: Coral Reef 101: What are they and why are they important?
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