Indonesia-US team discovers 52 new marine species in Sangihe Talaud expedition

Gracey Wakary, The Jakarta Post 10 Aug 10;

Sangihe Talaud, the two-month long deep-sea exploration project led by scientists from Indonesia and the US, officially ended Monday at Bitung Port in North Sulawesi.

Gellwyn Jusuf, the Indonesian representative of the Sangihe Talaud expedition, which was also called Index Satal, said he hoped the bilateral cooperation behind the team effort could be continued.

“This is ourfirst deep-sea research with the NOAA Okeanos and supported by every relevant agency here in Indonesia,” said Jusuf, who is also head of the Maritime Research and Fisheries Agency (BRKP).

“The maritime affairs and fishery minister hopes that this cooperative effort can put Indonesian researchers on par with international researchers. We hope this cooperation can be further sustained,” he added.

The 2010 Index Satal, which lasted for two months, was a bilateral Indonesian-US research expedition intended to explore the fields of maritime biology, geology, oceanography, deep sea exploration technology and maritime information technology.

The expedition was expected to advance understanding of undersea ecosystems, particularly those associated with submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal vents.

The geographical area of operation for the research expedition was entirely within the Coral Triangle Region, the global heart of shallow-water marine biodiversity.

Scientists used a remotely operated vehicle to get a glimpse of deepwater biodiversity in the waters of Sangihe-Talaud region.

At the end of the expedition, 52 new species of were discovered 300-2,000 meters beneath the ocean’s surface, including fish, shrimp, coral and shells.

Researchers also identified six sea mounts near North Siau Island and two sea mounts near Bunaken.

“We found the sea mounts 700-1,600 meters below the sea,” said Indonesian deep sea research team leader Sugiarta Wirasantoso.

Secretary to the coordinating public welfare minister Indroyono Soesilo said the bilateral cooperation was of great advantage to Indonesia, especially in research and development and in exploring available natural marine resources.

“The deep-sea research expedition involving the research ship Baruna Jaya and the US’ NOAA Okeanos Explorer is the Indonesian people’s investment in exploring the diverse potential of the available undersea life which could be used for the sake of humanity,” said Soesilo.

Kristen Bauer, the US Consul General in Surabaya, also attended the closing ceremonies of the expedition, which is expected to be followed by another deep sea research voyage called Index Halmahera.

Scientists find 52 deep-sea biota species in Sangihe-Talaud
Antara 9 Aug 10;

Manado, N Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - A team of scientists aboard the Indonesian research vessel, Baruna Jaya IV, has discovered 52 marine biota species during a two-month exploration in the deep sea in Sangihe-Talaud Islands, North Sulawesi.

"The marine biota species were found 300 meters to 1,000 meters beneath the sea level," Iwan Eka, one of the researchers, said on Sunday.

The marine biota species taken using a trawl mostly belonged to the families of fish and coral, he said.

Several of the marine biota species were kept at the research vessel`s wet laboratory as samples for further research, he said.

"Among the unique marine biota species are corals which can live without sun ray and get their food by way of "kemosintesa," he said.

The discovery of 52 marine biota species was tandem exploration to promote marine science and technology in the deep sea in Sangihe-Talaud Islands under the Indonesia-US Expedition Sangihe-Talaud 2010 mission, he said.

"We conducted the tandem exploration aboard the Okeanos Explorer and the Indonesian research vessel Baruna Jaya IV for two months from June 24 to August 7, 2010," he said.

"The Okeanos Explorer conducted exploration at a depth of more than 2,000 meters and Baruna Java IV at a depth of up to 2,000 meters," he said.(*)