New alien species iden­ti­fied by the Con­ser­va­tion Bi­ol­ogy Re­search Group

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

The Niger Hind, Cephalopho­lis ni­gri, is a new alien fish species for the Mediter­ranean dis­cov­ered by the Con­ser­va­tion Bi­ol­ogy Re­search Group at the Univer­sity of Malta.

This con­ser­va­tion re­search group led by Adri­ana Vella, has been ac­tively work­ing di­rectly with fish­er­men and sea-users as part of the long-term re­search ef­fort for mon­i­tor­ing and un­der­stand­ing the changes of lo­cal species and their ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment.

In this con­ser­va­tion ori­ented re­search ef­fort, var­i­ous mar­itime en­ti­ties have been as­sist­ing, in­clud­ing the AFM, Trans­port Malta, fish­er­men, scuba divers and the NGO BICREF. The sci­en­tific mem­bers of this re­search team are all ac­tive in field and lab­o­ra­tory re­search them­selves while they care­fully in­ves­ti­gate queries re­gard­ing un­usual crea­tures or oc­cur­rences out at sea brought for­ward by sea-users. This sus­tains a mu­tu­ally useful di­a­logue where fish­er­men, scuba-divers, swim­mers, sailors may bet­ter un­der­stand the on­go­ing changes and the re­quire­ments for a healthy ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment.

The re­search tools used to iden­tify and un­der­stand the con­ser­va­tion sta­tus of lo­cal species are also be­ing used to find out more about the chang­ing bio­di­ver­sity in Mal­tese wa­ters. There is a se­ri­ous con­cern that in­creas­ing num­ber of new alien species may fast change lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties which needs to be dealt with re­spon­si­bly fo­cus­ing on lo­cal species at the cen­tre of the knowl­edge gain­ing ef­forts. For this rea­son, th­ese new sci­en­tific dis­cov­er­ies of alien species in the Mediter­ranean are added to the var­i­ous other dis­cov­er­ies and ef­forts this ac­tive re­search group has been pro­duc­ing through the years while in­form­ing the pub­lic in gen­eral of on­go­ing long-term con­ser­va­tion in­ves­tiga­tive ef­forts.

While thank­ing all sea-users that sus­tain such con­ser­va­tion work, the con­ser­va­tion re­search group wel­comes queries on fur­ther in­for­ma­tion by con­tact­ing: Adri­ana Vella on adri­ana.vella@um.edu.mt and 9942 9592

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