New coral species discovered

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A Filipino marine scientist cite the discovery of at least four new species of coral in the Philippines.

Dr. Edgardo Gomez, University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) professor emeritus, said the continuous survey of coral reefs conducted in Philippine waters showed “about four to five new records of coral reef.”

“The total number of species of corals is increasing. Particularly, more coral diversity is being discovered,” Gomez said during a press conference on the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Conference held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Manila in Quezon City yesterday.

He also cited the discovery of a new species of coral called Leptoseris kalayaanensis, which was discovered by marine biologist Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan in the waters off Kalayaan islands in Spratlys a few years ago.

Gomez, who is currently the coordinator of the Center of Excellence for the Philippines and Southeast Asia under the Global Environment Facility/World Bank Coral Reef Targeted Research Program, where he also serves as co-chair of the Restoration and Remediation Working Group, noted there are about two to five metric tons per square kilometer of coral reef damaged annually.

American zoologist Dr. Kent Carpenter said corals are damaged usually because of sedimentation, poor land use, overfishing, and dynamite fishing.
However, Gomez said that with the protection and conservation of remaining coral reefs, about 25 to 30 metric tons per square kilometer of coral reefs yearly will reach its excellent condition.

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