Have you heard of coral triangle day? This is held every year on June 9th and is a huge celebration of the coral triangle – the epicentre of marine biodiversity.
Where is the coral triangle?
The coral triangle is a triangular (kind of) area in tropical waters around the following countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.
Coral triangle map
The celebration of coral triangle day is not limited to these countries though! Many countries benefit from the rich marine resources of the area.
The coral triangle is located between the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. It is one of the eight major coral reef zones in the world and is a centre of marine biodiversity. This area is a global priority for conservation.
Furthermore, this area is known as the Amazon of the seas, an analogy to the Amazon rainforest in South America. The coral triangle is an epicentre of marine diversity. The three mega ecological complexes are the Congo Basin, Amazon Rainforest and Coral Triangle.
Coral triangle day
The event is celebrated in several regions around the coral triangle region. There are many activities that go on including beach clean ups, beach parties, sustainable dinners, ocean film festivals, bazaars etc.
This day is envisioned to be an annual, open sourced event that brings together individuals, groups, organisations and establishments on one day of the year to bring attention to ocean conservation and ways the coral triangle can be protected.
The first coral triangle day was held in 2021 in conjunction with world oceans day which is celebrated on June 8th each year. The goal of world coral day is to position the coral triangle region as a significant eco-region for the world. It is a modern day icon of the natural world and it is important that people learn about its significance to their everyday lives.
Biodiversity of the coral triangle
The coral triangle covers 5.7 million square kilometres. This is only 1.6 percent of the world’s ocean yet it contains more than 76 percent of shallow water reef building coral species and six out of seven of the world’s sea turtle species.
Did you know that the greatest extent of the mangrove forest in the world is also found here?
There are also underwater active volcanoes at a depth of 3800 meters along the western ridge. This was discovered in a joint Indonesian and USA marine survey in 2008. More than 40 deep sea coral species were newly identified. Most are the color white because the area is does not house colourful algae species which normally live in shallow waters.
There are many theories as to why there is such high diversity in the coal triangle, the three main theories are as follows.
The centre of origin model states that there are high diversity populations in the area of the archipelago that are part of a centrally located ancestral population that later moved to other locations on the periphery.
The centre of overlap model states that species came together from different biogeographic due to population division and then later expanded their range.
The centre of accumulation model states that the ancestral populations were originally scattered among different locations and then came together in a central region and formed a diverse population.
Conservation of the coral triangle
There are many countries that have agreed to conserve the coral reefs through an international treaty.
The coral triangle initiative on coral reefs, fisheries and food security (CTI) launched to protect the vital resources the coral triangle provides to many. It offers collaboration and a coordinated platform for conservation action.
The first guiding principle of the CTI is to “support people-centred biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, poverty reduction and equitable benefit sharing”. The focus is to work with people to sustainably manage the marine ecosystem so they can support their wellbeing at present and well into the future.
WWF also invests in the conservation of the coral triangle because of its biodiversity, it is a source of food, livelihood and income for millions of people. It is a provider of ecosystem good and services to the globe.