Conservation International (CI) announced last Friday, Oct. 10, the release of a new app, �Reef Fishes Of The East Indies�, a digital guide to every known reef fish species in the most biodiverse region on the planet, based on the book of the same name. Co-author, Mark Erdmann, CI�s senior advisor to the Indonesian Marine Program said, �Sharing this knowledge brings greater value to the biodiversity present here and we hope this will increase motivation and momentum for its conservation to ensure that these species and their delicate ecosystems remain in balance.�
“Maintaining this natural capital is key to the region’s important tourist industry and other ecosystem services the ocean provides the people.” The comprehensive information contained in the guide includes over 2,500 reef fish, of which 25 species are new to science. It summarizes 60 years of research and exploration and brings greater un- derstanding and valuation of the immense biodiversity of reef fish inthe East Indies.
The authors, scientists Mark Erdmann and Gerry Allen, have spent much of their lives at sea dis- covering, studying and conserving some ofthe most rare a.nd beautiful fish in the world. The proceeds of this CI-produced app will support CI Indonesia’s marine conservation program.
Designed for iPad and Kindle Fire, “Reef Fishes Of The East Indies” does not stream content, so can be used out at sea with no Internet connection required. The app contains many useful and interactive features including search, note taking’ and drawing features, detailed entries for each species, and photo sharing by email and social media.
“This is the perfect digital guide for divers and nature lovers to use in the office, school, home or out on the open sea,” Erdman said. “We had originally simply created a book, but later thought it would be great to produce an app to bring this information to the masses in an easy to access, transportable format.”
The coverage area of the app includes the Coral Triangle (in- cluding Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands), which alone boasts 37 percent of the world’s coral reef Hsh species ~ more than anywhere else on the planet.
The research also covers the South China Sea (including Brunei Darussalam to Vietnam and Singapore), the Andaman Sea (including Thailand, Myanmar and the Anda- man Islands of India) and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. It covers all shallow water (0-75 meter) reef-associated fish species known from the region, includ- ing both obligate reef dwellers and those that are commonly observed passing through reef areas or in the soft bottom areas just adjacent to reefs.
From the majestic manta rajg to the gorgeous, jewel-like mandarin fish, there are 2,655 species in over 3,000 high definition photos. Organized by classification, family and species, the app will be regularly updated to keep up with scientists’ new discoveries. Erdmann and Allen remain busy discovering new species, having most recently found a new species of “walking” Bamboo Shark (Hemiscyllium halmahera) in the waters off the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. `