Coral Reef Biodiversity: A Comparison

How biodiverse is one coral reef compared to another? To find out, in Spring 2012, Smithsonian scientist Chris Meyer his students in the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC) course counted different crustacean species in the reef, breaking apart dead corals to count the crabs and shrimps inside.

This graph compares the crustacean biodiversity of Bali with two sites on the Great Barrier Reef (Heron and Lizard), the Ningaloo Reef (NW Australia), Moorea, French Polynesia, Hawaii and the Line Islands, both of the latter in the central Pacific. After sampling 400 individual crustaceans anywhere else in the world, you would have <100 species, but in Bali you get ~150. That's 50% more species per sample!

Read more about the Hotspot of Biodiversity sampling effort, and other stories from the IBRC trip on the Live from the Field: Bali Indonesia blog.