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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Solomon graduate and his team discover new freshwater fish species in Solomon Islands

A Solomon Islander who has just graduated with a Master Degree in Marine Science from the University of the South Pacific in April this year, and is currently with the Hebarium Department of the Institute of Applied Science has been part of a scientific team that discovered several new freshwater fish species in the Solomon Islands.

He is Mr David Boseto who hails from Choiseul Province. According to reports, the scientific team consisted of a Wetlands International and University of the South Pacific researchers who carried out a survey last month on the island of Tetepare in the Western Solomons on fresh and estuarine environments.

It is understood that the work was funded by the MacArthur Foundation as a component of a grant entitled “Strengthening local capacity to assess, monitor, and manage the biodiversity of coastal and freshwater ecosystems in Melanesia.” The survey included four rivers, estuaries and two lakes.

During the course of this work over 60 species of freshwater and estuarine fishes were collected and the team discovered at least three new species, a new genus and one still unidentified to family level. These fishes are currently known only from this island in the Solomons. However, they may be more widely distributed as few comprehensive surveys have been carried out in the country and broader island region.

The new taxa are now being described by Aaron Jenkins and David Boseto and will be published soon. This successful survey not only found several new taxa to science but provided a measured glimpse of a virtually pristine tropical aquatic ecosystem and the abundance of life that it can support in the Solomon Islands.

Source: Aaron Jenkins, Wetlands International, USP, Suva, Fiji

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