The United Nations has declared May 22nd, 2010 the International Day for Biodiversity. In light of this fact, we are pleased to announce that PLoS ONE has published the Biodiversity of Saba Bank Collection, a new collection of articles from an international collaboration of marine scientists who set out to characterize the richness, diversity and habitat of marine life on Saba Bank, the largest submarine atoll in the Atlantic Ocean.
This bank is adjacent to the nearby island of Saba, in the Netherlands Antilles. The submerged platform is vast, ~2200 sq km, with a 50 km fringing reef crest along the platform edge at an average depth of 25 m. Large vessels traveling to and from an oil terminal on nearby St. Eustatius Island routinely anchor on it, damaging ocean floor habitats. Marine biodiversity research was necessary to help inform any national and international protective measures.
The majority of the articles in this collection focus on a broad range of taxa including fish, algae, coral and sponges. In addition, the collection includes a discussion on saving Saba Bank. A wide variety of advanced deep sea exploration technology was used to complete this research including multibeam bathymetry (the study of the depth of ocean floors), satellite imagery, scuba transects, roving surveys, and remotely operated vehicles (ROV).
This previously poorly studied region of the Caribbean was found to have unusually high biodiversity, including several undescribed species. PLoS ONE is delighted to be able to bring this important work together in one freely accessible collection for the benefit of the Biodiversity community and others who are interested in this field.
PLoS ONE‘s announcement of the Biodiversity of Saba Bank Collection comes on the heels of our call for articles for the PLoS Hub for Biodiversity, a groundbreaking resource that will aggregate relevant articles from a range of open-access sources including our own journal websites and PubMed Central. Please check out the formal call for articles to learn more about the project.