BIODIVERSITY ABOUNDS: Algae and sponges line the underwater ledges of Navassa, a tiny, uninhabited island in the Caribbean that recently got a rare visit from scientists.
A recent expedition has revealed an unexpected breadth of biological diversity on a rare untouched patch of wilderness. Led by Center for Marine Conservation (CMC) scientists Michael Smith and Nina Young, 14 researchers set out to survey a tiny U.S.-owned island 40 miles west of Haiti in the Greater Antilles. Part of the United States since 1857, the island and its surrounding 4,000 square miles of marine habitat have been largely ignored for decades, apart from occasional visits from local fishermen. Scientists returned Aug. 5 from a two-week expedition to the two-square-mile island, bringing back samples of more than 800 different land species, a more than fourfold increase over earlier calculations. They estimate that of the samples brought back, 250 are new species....

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?