© Jim Stringer
  • Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area earns global spotlight as largest World Heritage site on Earth

    An island chain in the tiny Central Pacific nation of Kiribati has been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Heritage list, making it the largest designated Marine Protected Area on the planet. Conservation International and the New England Aquarium partnered with the Republic of Kiribati to create the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. This photo shows an Arc-Eyed hawkfish seeking protection in a Pocillopora coral colony.
    © Jim Stringer
  • Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area earns global spotlight as largest World Heritage site on Earth

    UNESCO said the area deserved the designation for its "pristine nature and importance as a migration route and reservoir." In this photo, diver Rob Barrell prepares to photograph Table corals that are bringing new life to an old anchor. The Phoenix Islands are located about halfway between Australia and Hawaii and just south of the equator. The islands form an archipelago several hundred miles long.
    © Cat Holloway
  • Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area earns global spotlight as largest World Heritage site on Earth

    Corallivorous butterfly fishes delicately remove polyps from this branching Pocillopora coral colony in the Phoenix Islands. The new protected area teems with marine life, including 200 kinds of coral, 500 unique fish species, 18 marine mammals and 44 bird species.
    © Cat Holloway
  • Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area earns global spotlight as largest World Heritage site on Earth

    Brightly colored Christmas tree worms delicately filter feed from their home in a coral colony on Enderbury Island.
    © Jim Stringer
  • Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area earns global spotlight as largest World Heritage site on Earth

    A school of fish is shown swimming through the water in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. The new World Heritage site is about 200,000 square miles, which is roughly the size of California.
    © Cat Holloway
  • Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area earns global spotlight as largest World Heritage site on Earth

    Brightly colored giant clams in the lagoon of Orona Island wrestle for space in the sunlight. The clams host photosynthetic organisms that use the suns energy to generate nutrients. The brightly colored mantle helps to protect clams against harmful UV rays and excessive irradiance.
    © Randi Rotjan/New England Aquarium
  • Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area earns global spotlight as largest World Heritage site on Earth

    A moray eel peeks out of a crevice near McKean Island in the protected area.
    © Jim Stringer
  • Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area earns global spotlight as largest World Heritage site on Earth

    Spiraling plates of Montipora corals abound at Enderbury Island, interrupted by splashes of pink crustose coralline algae.
    © Randi Rotjan/New England Aquarium
  • Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area earns global spotlight as largest World Heritage site on Earth

    A turtle swims in the waters around Enderbury Island.
    © Jim Stringer
  • Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area earns global spotlight as largest World Heritage site on Earth

    A school of Blackfin barracuda swim near McKean Island in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area.
    © Randi Rotjan/New England Aquarium
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