Warner, George F.; Goodbody, Ivan
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Centre for Marine Sciences
Miloslavich, Patricia; Klein, Eduardo
Caribbean marine biodiversity: the known and the unknown
Place of Publication
Universidad Simon Bolivar
Date of Publication
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The marine environment and marine habitats of Jamaica are described and the number of species in various taxa are estimated. Records exist for more than three thousand species of marine plants and animals from the shallow marine waters of Jamaica. Recent checklists for shallow water sponges, corals, molluscs and fishes have been published while other groups such as goronians, ascidians and echinoderms have been well studied. Estimates of numbers of species for these groups are likely to be more accurate than for others which have been less well studied and for which the literature is scattered. These groups include minor phyla, nematodes, small crustaceans and small and microscopic animals and plants. The few deep sea studies that have been carried out indicate large numbers of species still to be recorded from that habitat. In addition, new species in all taxa are still being described from habitats and it is likely that many more remain to be discovered. Threats to marine diversity are briefly reviewed; these include local threats (for example pollution, over-fishing) and international treats (for example disease, global warming). Ecological biodiversity is expected to decline in badly stressed systems. Genetic biodiversity at the species level may assist organisms to survive these stresses but at present little is known about the molecular biology of Caribbean marine biota.....