Why Raja Ampat Waters Are So Full Of Life

  • Created At: December 21, 2020

  • Created By: Meridian Adventure Dive Resort

Located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the
Indonesian Seas are the place of immense water exchange. The water exchange is
known as the Indonesian Throughflow and flows from the Pacific through to the
lower Indian Ocean. This flow delivers eggs and larvae to the reefs of
Indonesia and travels over the complex underwater topography creating great
upwellings of nutrient-rich cold water. Both the marine diversity and
importance for research tie back to the Indonesian Throughflow Current, which
passes through Raja Ampat. This important current provides a route for warm
water to flow from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean and is a key path in the
global heat conveyor belt (which warms up oceans internationally and in turn
maintains overall climate around the world).

A veritable life source, and after a holiday in these waters you will go
home with a renewed sense of life yourself.

We are sure you have heard numerous times that Raja Ampat boasts the
best waters and most abundant marine life in the South-East Asian region.
Science considers it one of the premier sites for marine biology in the world.
It has been recorded as holding 75% of all known species of ornamental and
coral fish in the world and continues to be a vital spot for researchers who
seek to develop knowledge on oceanic life.

But the question stands, why is Raja Ampat’s water so full of life?

THE CURRENTS

We have already spoken about the Indonesian Throughflow, but one
actually needs a clear explanation to truly understand the strength of this current.
Norwegian scientist, Harald Sverdrup even made up his own term to explain the
vast amount of liquid flowing here. He has said to imagine “a river that is 100
meters wide, 10 meters deep and flows at speeds of 4 knots, then imagine 500 of
those rivers all combined together.” This is one Sverdrup… The Indonesian
Throughflow is 22 Sverdrups!!

THE TEMPERATURES

According to Conservation International – the undoubtable reason for
Raja’s resilient reefs are complex and numerous but believed that one of the most
important factors is that its reefs are normally exposed to a wide variation in
temperatures, basically “pre-adapting” them to climate change.

Reefs across Raja Ampat experience temperatures fluctuating between 19
and 36 degrees Celsius (66–96 degrees Fahrenheit), with many individual reefs
exposed to a whopping 6–12 C variation within a single 24-hour period!
According to most marine biology textbooks, such variation should easily kill
these corals, yet they are thriving.

As scuba
divers and marine biologists began to travel to the more remote
eastern parts of Indonesia, they discovered the absolute wonder of Raja Ampat’s
biodiversity. It was soon realised that Raja Ampat was far more important
to marine conservation than anyone had ever thought and agencies
like Conservation
International
, the World
Wildlife Fund
, and the Nature
Conservancy
 started to move in.