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Other new alien species identified by the Conservation Biology Research Group

18 November 2016

The Niger Hind, Cephalopholis nigri, is a new alien fish species for the Mediterranean discovered by the Conservation Biology Research Group at the University of Malta.

This conservation research group led by Adriana Vella, PhD (Cambridge), has been actively working directly with fishermen and sea-users as part of the long-term research effort for monitoring and understanding the changes of local species and their marine environment. The recent discovery is already in press in the UK scientific peer-reviewed journal, Marine Biodiversity Records authored by Noel Vella, Ph.D and Sandra Agius Darmanin, MSc., apart from Adriana and it considers the morphological and genetic analyses of the first record of the Niger Hind, Cephalopholis nigri in the Mediterranean Sea.

In this conservation oriented research effort various maritime entities have been assisting, including the AFM, Transport Malta, fishermen, scuba divers and the NGO BICREF. The scientific members of this research team are all active in field and laboratory research themselves while they carefully investigate queries regarding unusual creatures or occurrences out at sea brought forward by sea-users. This sustains a mutually useful dialogue where fishermen, scuba-divers, swimmers, sailors may better understand the ongoing changes and the requirements for a healthy marine environment.

The research tools used to identify and understand the conservation status of local species are also being used to find out more about the changing biodiversity in Maltese waters. There is a serious concern that increasing number of new alien species may fast change local communities which needs to be dealt with responsibly focusing on local species at the centre of the knowledge gaining efforts. For this reason, these new scientific discoveries of alien species in the Mediterranean are added to the various other discoveries and efforts this active research group has been producing through the years while informing the public in general of ongoing long-term conservation investigative efforts.

While thanking all sea-users that sustain such conservation work, the conservation research group welcomes queries on further information by contacting: Adriana Vella on and mob: 99429592