After starting the barcoding of the total fish fauna at Moorea (Society Islands, French Polynesia) in 2006 under the BIOCODE project (http://mooreabiocode.org/), CRIOBE has spent the last 7 years continuing the genetic barcoding of coral reef fishes over the 118 islands, 5 archipelagos and 5.5 million km2 of French Polynesia. Of course the project could not visit every single island, but the project hoped to visit all 5 archipelagos for the fish surveys and sampling. Moorea has been sampled, the Gambier was surveyed in 2010, the Marquesas in 2008 and 2011, and now finally the Australs during this trip with the Global Reef Expedition. The Living Oceans Foundation has made it possible to conduct fish surveys at Raivavae, Tubuai, Rurutu, Rimatara and Maria Islands.
Austral Islands Fish Surveys
The fish surveys resulted in the surveying of more than 300 fish species and we collected specimens representing about 14 new species that will be described over the coming years. In addition to these new species, this was also the opportunity to record new occurrences for many fish species previously unreported from the Austral Islands (about 20 new records). The results of this sampling program will be analyzed genetically and our findings will be made available internationally on the FISHBOL database.
With these fish surveys completed, we have now collected over 5000 vouchered fish samples for French Polynesia. These samples will provide one of the most extensive databases of fishes worldwide for a region as large as French Polynesia.
(Photos by Jeff Williams)
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