Mar
21

Today in Smithsonian History: March 21, 1983

Fissurellidae, Smithsonian Aldabra Survey 1983, National Museum of Natural History - Invertebrate Zoology Dept, USNM#836496.

Specimen label:
Fissurellidae, Smithsonian Aldabra Survey 1983, National Museum of Natural History – Invertebrate Zoology Dept, USNM#836496.

Image of Fissurellidea bimaculata

Fissurellidae, common name the keyhole limpets and slit limpets, is a taxonomic family of limpet-like sea snails and marine gastropod molluscs. Their common name derives from the small hole in the apex of their cone-like shells. Although superficially resembling other “true” limpets, they are in fact not closely related to them. Photo © Donna Pomeroy via Encyclopedia of Life at http://eol.org/data_objects/32341839

March 21, 1983 The Museum of Natural History launches a pioneering international collaborative study of Aldabra atoll in the Indian Ocean, one of the world’s most scientifically interesting coral atolls. The five-year study focuses on the marine ecosystems of the island, especially those of the lagoon and its fringes.

The Aldabra Atoll site in the Seychelles was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1982. The site is comprised of a coral reef surrounding four large coral islands, which enclose a shallow lagoon. Protected from human influence, Aldabra’s beaches are safe nesting habitat for hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata – pictured here), one of the Indian Ocean’s largest congregations of nesting green turtles (Chelonia mydas), and the world’s second largest breeding populations of greater and lesser frigate birds (Fregata minor & Fregata ariel). The site also provides a refuge to 100,000 Aldabran giant tortoises (Dipsochelys dussumieri), one of the few surviving giant tortoise species of the Indian Ocean region.

Hawksbill turtle

The Aldabra Atoll is a protected breeding ground for Hawksbill turtles such as this one. Photo by Keith Wilson via Ocean Portal http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-photos/aldabra-atoll-seychelles.


Posted: 21 March 2017
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