Newly discovered coral reef species named after Bali

INDONESIA - Bali has now been immortalized in the name of a new coral reef species found in Padangbai and Candidasa waters in Karangasem regency.

Euphyllia baliensis sp was discovered during a coral reef survey conducted by a group of scientists led by Lyndon Devantier.

The survey was part of the Bali maritime quick review programme between April 29 and May 1, 2011.

Conservation International (CI) executive director Dr Ketut Sarjana Putra told a press briefing in Denpasar that the new coral reef species was discovered in 27 meters to 37 meters depth. It is a type of hard coral reef that has the endurance to survive along coastlines with strong ocean current.

Putra highlighted that the Euphyllia baliensis species can only be found in Bali. After a three months study, it has been confirmed to be a new species.

"It has unique characteristics. It looks like frangipani flowers. Because it is a strong hard coral, it secures the island well," said Putra.

Compared to other species of the same euphyllidae genus, E. baliensis has relatively smaller corallites, with an average diameter of three milimeters, shown from its thinner and shorter branches, which are slightly calcified. The species has blunt red and brown tentacles, with a greenish cream base colour.

Karang Lestari Foundation chairman I Gusti Agung Prana hopes the fact that the new coral reef has been named after Bali, it will encourage more coral reef conservation efforts in Indonesia, especially in Bali.

He emphasised that such conservation efforts would require the active participation of coastline communities.

"With community-based empowerment and awareness raising, they will participate in rehabilitative actions because they know that it's for their own sake," said Prana.

Commission I chairman of the Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) Made Arjaya said that the legislative and Bali provincial administration was currently formulating a regional law that regulates zoning along the coastline.

"There will be a protection zone as well as a utilization zone that will be the parameter for the regencies and city in their development plan. The implementation of such a zoning regulation is crucial to save the local community and to save tourism," he said.

The Bali maritime quick review programme has also identified around 406 types of coral reef that live in the waters of Bali, including Nusa Penida. There are dozens more of coral reef species that require further taxonomy analysis.