Raja Ampat and North Sulawesi (Indonesia)
In 2005, the Island of Gangga on the northeastern tip of Sulawesi was also sampled by us. An astonishing 35 species of cowries were found alive in the intertidal of the south of the island. This number is quite high for a single intertidal habitat consisting of conglomerated coral and sponges.
This year, we found that the shallow coral and sponge habitat had been exterminated a few weeks prior to our arrival: rocks and corals had been removed for breakwaters piled up along the shore, as a protection for the sandy beach against erosion. Only one species of cowry was still found alive (Lyncina lynx), and twelve species were fresh dead, which indicates that these may still live in the direct vicinity. We were told that rising sea-levels and exceptionally strong tidal action caused severe erosion of the sandy beach, making the construction of breakwaters necessary, and that the rocks were supposedly taken from a far away place.