Paper No. 126-12
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
RAJA AMPAT: A HOTSPOT OF FORAMINIFERAL DIVERSITY
The Raja Ampat archipelago is located at the northwestern coast of the Bird’s Head Peninsula in Indonesia’s West Papua province. It is located in the Coral Triangle and has been identified as the world’s hotpot for coral reef diversity. Due to its remote location and difficult access conditions foraminiferal studies from this area are virtually absent. Here we provide the first large-scale survey and document the structure, composition and species richness of benthic shallow-water foraminifera. The sample material analyzed covers the full range of existing micro- and macrohabitats. All taxa were identified to species level and a total of 460 species were recovered including several new species. The specific diversity was compared to other Indo-Pacific reefal sites and to currently available data of corals and other invertebrates. Our findings show that Raja Ampat harbors unique assemblages of foraminifera and constitutes a particularly unique hotspot of diversity. The species richness recovered is among the highest reported to date probably representing one of the world's biologically richest locations in reefs of modern oceans.