Marine Survey Finds High Biodiversity Concentration and Coral Reef Resilience in Timor-Leste

A team of six scientists and two videographers conducted the first ever extensive marine survey along the northern coast of Timor-Leste from August 14-24, 2012 and found seven potentially new marine species and extremely high concentrations of biodiversity with 734 fish species and 360 species of corals recorded. The survey also found that Timor-Leste’s waters are at least 2-3 degrees Celsius cooler than neighboring areas making its marine ecosystems more resilient to climate change impacts and serving as a well-placed refuge for marine species in the Coral Triangle threatened by rising sea temperatures. The survey, which aimed to document biological diversity in the country for the first time and assist local communities in establishing conservation priorities, supports the Timor-Leste CTI National Plan of Action. The activity was also supported by USAID’s Coral Triangle Support Partnership in collaboration with Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Program. Preliminary survey results were presented in a function hosted by former Timor-Leste President and Nobel Laureate Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta on August 24, 2012. A full report will be available by the end of 2012.

Date: 24 August 2012