A team of scientists has discovered new species of reef fish and coral during a survey conducted from April 29 to May 11 in waters off of Bali Island, Conservation International Indonesia said Thursday.
The group of scientists, which included top international experts on reef fish and coral, conducted the survey in 33 sites throughout Bali. The sites were designated as marine areas that required protection due to their great biodiversity.
After 350 hours of diving, the scientists had identified a total of 952 species of reef fish, eight of which were new discoveries, said Mark Van Nydeck Erdmann, a reef fish expert and marine senior advisor with the Conservation International Indonesia.
“Eight of the 952 species have never been found anywhere else in the world,” Erdmann said.
“Actually, it is not difficult to identify that they are new species. We recognize this from their shapes and colors,” he said.
The new species are Siphamia sp. and Heteroconger sp. found in Pemuteran at a depth of 7-10 meters, Meiacanthus sp. discovered in Gilimanuk at a depth of 10 meters, Parapercis sp. found in Nusa Dua at a depth of 10 meters.
Grallenia sp. and Manonichthys sp. were discovered at between 10 and 30 meters in Tulamben. In the Candidasa area, the scientists discovered Pseudochromis sp. at a depth of 60 to 70 meters, and Apogon sp. at a depth of 20 meters.
Other scientists involved in the survey included reef fish expert Gerard Robert Allen and coral experts Emre Turak and Lyndon Devantier.
The scientists recorded 393 coral species, including two new ones.
The two new species are Euphyllia sp., found in Padangbai at a depth of 40 meters, and Isopora sp., found at a depth of 40 meters in areas between Padangbai and Amed.
“For Euphyllia sp., we are pretty sure that it is a new species,” Erdmann said, adding that Euphyllia sp. was classified as a bubble coral.
“Globally, there are eight species of bubble coral. The one we found in Padangbai is different from the eight species. This is the ninth one,” he said.
Ketut Sarjana Putra, director of a marine program with the Conservation International Indonesia, said the scientists would also check the global database to ensure that their discoveries were in fact new species, and would add their scientific descriptions of the species on the global network to allow input from marine scientists worldwide. The species will also be named.