New coral species identified in the Phillipines

A recent news article citing by Professor Edgardo Gomez (University of the Phillipines Marine Science Institute) reports that new coral species are being discovered in the Kalayaan islands, Phillipines, such as Leptoseris kalayaanensis (a vase shaped coral similair to the Leptoseris on the left). Other findings presented by Professor Gomez at the Coral Reef Targeted Research and Capacity Building for Management Program forum in the Phillipines recently included recording over 36 coral species in a square metre in Talim Bay- this is quite an astounding find in a country with a population of 88 million where only 4-5% of the reefs are listed in “excellent” condition! Given that the reefs in the region have been devastated by deforestation, overfishing (blast & cyanide fishing, and uptill 1986 the ever destructive muro-ami, now banned by Phillipine law) and widespread coral bleaching in 1998, Professor Gomez rightly points out “…we may be losing some species before we discover them. This is what we call invisible extinctions“.

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