January 6, 2009
--A diver in 2007 inspects a giant coral
colony on Kingman Reef, found in one of three new U.S. national marine monuments announced today by President George W. Bush. Together, the far-flung monuments will be the largest marine reserve on Earth. (Read full story.
Kingman will be protected as part of the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, south of Hawaii around the Equator. The other monuments will be Rose Atoll and Mariana Trench, home to Earth's deepest spot.
Though isolated, "these areas have benefit beyond their boundaries," said National Geographic Society marine ecologist Enric Sala
. "When you protect an area, marine life recovers inside the area. After years, fish spill over and help replenish the life outside the area."
(The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)
Photograph by Enric Sala