Earth Snapshot RSS Feed Twitter

Posts tagged Ramsar Wetland

Gulf of Martaban Considered for Ramsar List; Problems of Coral Bleaching in Andaman Sea

16.5N 97.0E

December 21st, 2012 Category: Climate Change, Wetlands

Myanmar – December 19th, 2012

While this image focuses on the Gulf of Martaban, in southern Myanmar, more of the Andaman Sea can be observed in the full image. The gulf is currently being considered to be added to the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance. Reasons for including  the Gulf of Martaban include the fact that it supports a number of vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered species, including 50-70 spoon-billed sandpipers and more than 36 species of wading birds.

While the gulf is looking at increased environmental protection, other parts of the Andaman Sea are facing degradation. Coral reefs in the Andaman Sea, throughout the length and breadth of the Andaman group of islands, are losing their colour, owing to extensive bleaching. Experts say global warming is to blame, and that the bleaching problem in the area has existed since the late 1990s. Though a partial recovery has been observed, bleaching of coral reefs remains, nevertheless, a matter of grave concern since the damaged reefs will disturb the delicate ecological balance of the archipelago.

Coral bleaching occurs when there is a disturbance in the delicate symbiotic relationship between corals, which are living creatures, and the microscopic algae (zooxanthellae) they host. Both draw nutrients from each other for survival, and the coral’s beautiful colours are due to the zooxanthellae residing inside them. When a disturbance occurs, the zooxanthellae is ejected from the corals, leaving the white calcium carbonate of their skeletons visible – a phenomenon known as coral bleaching.


Atlas Mountains and Chott Ech Chergui, Algeria

34.1N 0.4E

December 19th, 2011 Category: Deserts, Wetlands

Algeria - December 11th, 2011

Algeria is the largest country in Africa, the Arab world, and the Mediterranean. Its southern part includes a significant part of the Sahara. To the north, the Tell Atlas mountains run parallel to the Saharan Atlas, further south, with vast plains and highlands between them. Both Atlas tend to merge in eastern Algeria. The Atlas Mountains preserve the north from desertification.

Visible near the center left is the Chott Ech Chergui, is a large endorheic salt lake in northwestern Algeria, located in the Saharan Atlas. The lake has an area of about 2000 km² and is one of the largest lakes in Algeria. It is also designated a Ramsar wetland of international importance; the Ramsar site has an area of 8555 km².

Karabogas and Gorgan Bays of the Caspian Sea

39.4N 52.4E

September 20th, 2010 Category: Lakes, Sediments

Caspian Sea - August 29th, 2010

Karabogas Bay, filling a depression in the northwestern corner of Turkmenistan and thus forming a bay on the Caspian Sea, appears greyish blue, in contrast to its blackish blue neighbor. The color difference is due in part to the shallowness of the bay.

South of the bay, the eastern shoreline of the sea is lined by greenish sediments. In the full image, a greenish bay can be seen in the sea’s southeastern corner. This body of water, known as Gorgan Bay, is separated from the rest of the sea by the Miyānkāle peninsula.

The Miyānkāle Peninsula is narrow but long and located in Mazandaran Province in the north of Iran. The combined area of the peninsula and bay, was designated a Ramsar wetland site in 1975.

Salt Lakes and Marshes in Western Australia

19.6S 121.0E

April 27th, 2010 Category: Lakes, Rivers, Salt Flats

Australia - March 5th, 2010

Australia - March 5th, 2010

Between the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts in Western Australia lie several playa lakes, white in color. The largest is Lake Disappointment, near the image center. To the north lies the smaller Lake Dora, on the Rudall River. These bodies of water are ephemeral and frequently appear as white salt flats.

Moving northwest, another white area is visible: the light sands of Eighty Mile Beach, forming the coastline where the Great Sandy Desert approaches the Indian Ocean. It is one of the most important sites for migratory shorebirds, or waders, in Australia, and is recognised as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Close to Eighty Mile Beach and included in the Eighty Mile Beach Ramsar Site is the Mandora Marsh, also known as Mandora Salt Marsh, a complex and diverse wetland system. It lies at the western edge of the Great Sandy Desert bioregion and within the Mandora Station pastoral lease.

Green Landscape Around Australia’s Lake Argyle – April 13th, 2010

15.7S 128.7E

April 13th, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

Australia - March 5th, 2010

Australia - March 5th, 2010

Lake Argyle, in Western Australia near the border with the Northern Territory (east of the lake), appears mostly surrounded by green vegetation here. A few months ago, the area in the vicinity of the lake appeared dry and reddish brown in color (click here for an image taken in late November 2009).

Lake Argyle is Australia’s second largest artificial lake by volume and is also recognised as an important wetland area under the Ramsar Convention. The lake is now home to 26 species of native fish and a population of freshwater crocodiles currently estimated at some 25,000.