Tim Laman

PHOTO GALLERIES: RAJA AMPAT REEFS

The Raja Ampat Islands are an archipelago surrounding the Western tip of the big island of New Guinea. Scientists from Conservation International discovered that these reefs have the highest diversity of fish and coral species of any reefs on earth. Because of their remoteness and low human population in the area, these reefs are healthy, but they face increasing threats. Tim photographed a Conservation International research expedition for German GEO Magazine, published in two parts in January and February 2008. The story is also being published in other GEO editions across Europe.

A Lionfish hovers in a seafan in a view looking toward the surface of the water near the smaller island of Fiabacet.
  
Crewman on the Shakti pulls on a mooring line near smaller island of Fiabacet.
  
Wayag Islands are an uninhabited group of uplifted limestone (karst) islands NW of Waigeo.
     
  
A huge school of trevally shelter beneath the jetty at Arborek Village.  Many village docks in this area shelter such schools, which provide a handy source of protein for villagers in this remote part of Indonesia.
  
Rich soft coral and sea fan covered reefs team with fish life near the smaller island of Wagmab.
  
Split level/over-under view of karst islands and staghorn corals in the Wayag Group.
     
  
A rich coral reef covered in soft corals, crinoids, and tunicates near Kawe Island.
  
Diving guide Graham Abbott explores an underwater rock wall for unique marine life at the Pisang Islands.
  
A diver explores a cave in the darkness.
     
  
Flamboyant Cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi) in Triton Bay.
  
Yellow color form of the Denise's Pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus denise) camouflages itself in a sea fan.
  
Soft corals, sea fans and sponges flourish on this healthy reef near Fiabacet Island.
     
  
A forest of soft corals in the shallows of a rocky islet with jacks hunting smaller fish.
  
Nudibranch (Nembrotha kubaryana) in Triton Bay.
  
A zigzag oyster encrusted with tunicates.
     
  
Large jacks and a Napolean wrasse (top center) keep an eye on a hunting white tip reef shark on a reef with a school of fusiliers in the background.
  
Near the smaller island of Fiabacet this Spider crab has hydroid polyps placed on its legs for camouflage.