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Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

April 11, 2009

 

This orange bamboo coral is a new species and new genus found in the

New species and genus found in the marine preserve

THE PAPAHĀNAUMOKUĀKEA MARINE NATIONAL MONUMENT is the single largest conservation area under U.S. protection, and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. It encompasses the entire Northwest Hawaiian Islands within 139,797 square miles of the Pacific Ocean — an area larger than all the country’s national parks combined. It has more deep water than any other U.S. protected area, with more than 98 percent below SCUBA-diving depths and only accessible to submersibles. Its extensive coral reefs — truly the rainforests of the sea — are home to over 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which are found only in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Scientists have identified seven new species of bamboo coral in the deep waters of Papahānaumokuākea, six of which may represent entirely new genera. “These discoveries are important, because deepsea corals support diverse seafloor ecosystems … and can provide a much-needed view of how deep ocean conditions change through time,” said Richard Spinrad, assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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