Greetings and happy “World Biodiversity Day” on May 22.
For me, every day is a day to appreciate and celebrate the amazing diversity of life that we share this planet with, but it’s good to have these reminders about what’s important. As you know, I am especially drawn to the richest habitats on the planet – rain forests and coral reefs.
So this week I thought I’d share a few images from one of my favorite places, the Raja Ampat Islands of Indonesia, which are a spectacular example of both these ecosystems. This area not only has the world’s richest coral reefs below water, but the rainforest-covered islands are home to birds-of-paradise, and many other species. And not only that, this is one of the rare places where rainforest comes right down to meet the sea. These limestone islands produce little silt and the waters are bathed by rich currents, so corals can literally grow right beneath overhanging tree branches, like in the image below.
As I prep to head back to Indonesia once again this summer to work on a filming project with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in West Papua, I’ll leave you with a few favorite images celebrating the rich diversity of Raja Ampat. Enjoy and have a great summer.
The World’s Richest Reefs
Clockwise from top left:
The profusion of life on some of Raja Ampat’s reefs is almost overwhelming, like this underwater pinnacle teaming with fish and sea fans. This region has the highest coral species diversity as well as fish species diversity recorded anywhere in the world.
If you look closely, there are always smaller creatures to discover, like this colorful nudibranch (Nembrotha kubaryana).
A crazy variety of colorful invertebrates inhabit the reef, including creatures like this zigzag clam, covered in coraline algae, and at least two different species of tunicates growing on it.
The corals of Raja Ampat have largely escaped bleaching to date. Beautiful table corals can be seen growing in the shallows in many sites.
The biomass of fish on some Raja Ampat reefs can be staggering. Here snappers and fusiliers criss-cross above a shallow seamount.
Thanks for your interest and support, and I hope that together we can make a difference for the wild places and biodiversity of our planet that is worth saving in its own right, but also critical for a healthy planet!
Responsible eco-tourism helps to protect these reefs, so if you are a diver, I highly recommend you add Raja Ampat to your bucket list.
Stay safe and have a great summer everyone.
PS. If you’d like to join me diving in Raja Ampat this August, follow this LINK for details about our underwater photo workshop at the spectacular Papua Explorers resort! There is still some space.