How Are The Pacific’S Low Islands Distinct From The High Islands?


How Are The Pacific’S Low Islands Distinct From The High Islands


Total population
Micronesian languages, Yapese, Chamorro, Palauan, English
Christianity (93.1%)
Related ethnic groups
Polynesians, Euronesians, Austronesian peoples

The Micronesians or Micronesian peoples are various closely related ethnic groups native to Micronesia, a region of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean, They are a part of the Austronesian ethnolinguistic group, which has an Urheimat in Taiwan, Ethno-linguistic groups classified as Micronesian include the Carolinians ( Northern Mariana Islands ), Chamorros ( Guam & Northern Mariana Islands ), Chuukese, Mortlockese, Namonuito, Paafang, Puluwat and Pollapese ( Chuuk ), I-Kiribati ( Kiribati ), Kosraeans ( Kosrae ), Marshallese ( Marshall Islands ), Nauruans ( Nauru ), Palauans, Sonsorolese ( Palau ), Pohnpeians, Pingelapese, Ngatikese, Mwokilese ( Pohnpei ), and Yapese, Ulithian, Woleian, Satawalese ( Yap ).

How are the Pacific Islands distinct from the high islands?

Pacific Islands, island geographic region of the Pacific Ocean, It comprises three ethnogeographic groupings— Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia —but conventionally excludes the neighbouring island continent of Australia, the Asia-related Indonesian, Philippine, and Japanese archipelagoes, and the Ryukyu, Bonin, Volcano, and Kuril island arcs that project seaward from Japan,

  1. Neither does the term include the Aleutian chain or such isolated islands of the Pacific Ocean as the Juan Fernández group off the coast of South America,
  2. The more inclusive term Oceania, in its broadest definition, encompasses all the foregoing; however, the term is used less strictly in this article to refer to the Pacific Islands as defined above.

The Pacific Island region covers more than 300,000 square miles (800,000 square km) of land—of which New Zealand and the island of New Guinea make up approximately nine-tenths—and millions of square miles of ocean. It is a mixture of independent states, associated states, integral parts of non-Pacific Island countries, and dependent states.

The great arc of islands located north and east of Australia and south of the Equator is called Melanesia (from the Greek words melas, “black,” and nēsos, “island”) for the predominantly dark-skinned peoples of New Guinea island, the Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu (the New Hebrides), New Caledonia, and Fiji,

North of the Equator and east of the Philippines are the islands of Micronesia, which form an arc that ranges from Palau, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands in the west eastward through the Federated States of Micronesia (the Caroline Islands), Nauru, and the Marshall Islands to Kiribati, How Are The Pacific’S Low Islands Distinct From The High Islands Britannica Quiz Islands and Archipelagos The main Pacific Islands span the Equator obliquely from northwest to southeast and can be divided into two major physiographic regions by island type: continental and oceanic. Deep ocean trenches form the Andesite Line along the eastern borders of Japan, the Marianas, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and New Zealand.

  • The line separates the basaltic volcanic islands of the central and eastern Pacific from the islands of the broad western Pacific margin, which are formed mainly of metamorphosed rocks, sediment, and andesitic volcanic material.
  • The continental islands, lying southwestward of the Andesite Line, are faulted and folded in mountainous arcs, tend to be higher and larger than those farther east, and have rich soils that support almost every kind of vegetation.

Continental islands are generally larger (most notably, the Marianas, New Guinea, the Bismarcks, the Solomons, Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia, and the North and South islands of New Zealand) and have richer mineral-bearing soils than their oceanic counterparts. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Subscribe Now The parent lava material of the oceanic type of island is basalt. Oceanic islands are differentiated as high volcanic-based islands, such as Hawaii, or low coral islands and atolls, such as the Marshalls.

Most Pacific islands are coral formations, although all of these rest on volcanic or other cores. In the shallow waters of the tropics, both continental and oceanic islands attract coral growth in the form of fringing reefs, partially submerged platforms of consolidated limestone, with coral organisms at the ocean edge feeding on materials carried in by waves and currents.

Many islands have been gradually submerged through a combination of sinking, caused by geologic action, and flooding, caused by the melting of ice caps. As islands were flooded, coral growth continued outward, producing barrier reefs farther from the shorelines and separated from them by lagoons.

  • A coral atoll results when still further flooding reduces an island to a submarine condition.
  • The usually irregular reef continues to build up in the warm shallows.
  • It encircles a clear-surfaced lagoon of moderate depth and in time supports a number of islets built up from reef debris to 20–30 feet (6–9 metres ) above sea level,

Rain catchments are usually the only source of fresh water on atolls, The successive geologic lifting of some islands above sea level has created a variety of “raised” coral formations. The northern half of Guam, for example, is a coralline limestone plateau with a general elevation of about 500 feet (150 metres), while the mountains in the southern half of the island, formed by volcanic activity, reach a maximum elevation of over 1,300 feet (400 metres).

  • Nauru and Banaba (in Kiribati) are raised coral islands that stand at elevations of about 210 and 285 feet (65 and 90 metres), respectively.
  • They have deeper soil and a more adequate water supply than atoll islets, as well as surface deposits of phosphate rock (derived from guano ) that have been mined commercially.

The climate of the Pacific Islands is generally tropical (except in New Zealand, which has a temperate climate), with temperatures, humidity, and rainfall relatively uniform throughout the year. Temperature varies from averages in the low 80s F (about 28 °C) on both Nauru and Kiribati to an average in the low 60s F (about 15 °C) on Norfolk Island, one of the southernmost Pacific Islands.

Most vegetation is derived from Indonesia and New Guinea, and its generic variety declines eastward across the Pacific. Local environmental differences and relative isolation have resulted in the evolution of numerous new endemic species, The introduction of new species from throughout the world has also markedly altered island flora.

Only a small proportion of the total land area is arable and, outside New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, is devoted mostly to the cultivation of coconut and cassava. Most of the larger islands also support some livestock. As much as two-thirds of the Pacific Islands’ total land area is forested.

Most of the islands are poor in mineral resources. The population is concentrated in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand (which has a majority of people of European descent), Hawaii, Fiji, and Solomon Islands. Most Pacific Islands are densely populated, and habitation tends to be concentrated along the coasts.

Melanesians make up more than three-fourths of the total indigenous population of the Pacific Islands. Polynesians account for more than one-sixth of the total, and Micronesians constitute about one-twentieth. People of European origin account for as much as one-third of the Pacific Islands’ population if New Zealand is included in the total and less than one-tenth if it is not; outside New Zealand the largest concentration of people of European origin is in Hawaii.

Several hundred distinct languages are spoken in the Pacific Islands; these are mostly Austronesian in origin. Most islanders have some familiarity with English or French; one or the other of these is the official language of virtually all Pacific Islands. Christianity has largely supplanted traditional beliefs and practices, although in some areas, such as Papua New Guinea, Christian faith is often combined with traditional practices.

In general the Pacific Islands have developing economies in which both public and private sectors participate. The gross national product (GNP) per capita varies widely. Agriculture, fishing, and services are generally the largest economic sectors, and mining is important on a few of the islands.

  1. Subsistence farming predominates on the smaller islands.
  2. Almost all the islands grow coconuts, which, with copra, are a major export.
  3. Pasture is available only on the larger islands; pigs, cattle, and chickens are raised commercially there, and sufficient milk and meat are produced to satisfy domestic needs.

Villagers on some smaller islands and New Guinea rear pigs and goats for local use. Subsistence fishing is important everywhere except Hawaii and New Zealand and provides a major source of protein in local diets. There is also commercial fishing, notably in Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Fiji, which account for much of the regional catch.

Commercially exploitable forests in Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa, and Vanuatu produce timber, sawn wood, and wood products for domestic consumption and export. The other islands generally must import quality lumber. Mineral production is limited to a few of the continental islands, such as New Caledonia, New Guinea, and New Zealand.

The manufacturing sector, except in Hawaii and New Zealand, is mostly undeveloped and limited to processing fish and agricultural products and producing handicrafts. Other islands with significant manufacturing besides Hawaii and New Zealand include Guam, Fiji, the Northern Marianas, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomons.

  • Regional electricity is generated largely from imported fuels.
  • Most Pacific Islands’ annual imports (excluding those of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Hawaii) far exceed exports.
  • Tourism and remittances from expatriates only partially offset the trade deficits.
  • Frozen or canned fish, minerals, copra, cocoa, coffee, tea, and spices are among the leading exports, mainly to Japan, France, the United States, and Australia.

Machinery and transport equipment, mineral fuels, food, and manufactured goods are among the chief imports and come mainly from Australia, France, Japan, and the United States, Only a small proportion of the Pacific Islands’ external trade is intraregional.

  1. Tourism is very important to the Pacific Ocean islands.
  2. Attractions include fine beaches, good fishing and boating, and local customs and crafts.
  3. French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Fiji, and New Zealand have the most developed tourist sectors, but many of the other islands place a priority on developing facilities.

Most Pacific Islands that are overseas territories of other countries receive budgetary and development aid, mainly from the continental governing countries, while the smaller independent island states receive aid particularly from Australia and New Zealand, as well as from Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

  1. Air transport and interisland shipping are the principal means of transport.
  2. Many of the island groups have international airports.
  3. Extensive road networks are limited to the larger islands.
  4. The remainder of this article covers the history of the region.
  5. For more detailed discussion of the land and people of individual island groups and states, see the articles American Samoa, Caroline Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Line Islands, Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Midway Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Island, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wake Island, and Wallis and Futuna,

For discussion of the arts and cultures of the region, see the articles Oceanic art and architecture, Oceanic music and dance, Oceanic literature, Melanesian culture, Micronesian culture, and Polynesian culture, Area (excluding Indonesian New Guinea and the Hawaiian Islands but including Papua New Guinea) 317,739 square miles (833,926 square km).

How are the Pacific low islands distinct from the high islands quizlet?

How are the Pacific’s low islands distinct from the high islands? The low islands often have no sources of freshwater. In which of Oceania’s ecosystems can you find tree kangaroos, frogs, various birds, ferns, and tall, dense trees?

What is the difference between high islands and low islands in Australia?

Physical Feature: High Islands Education and Outreach Gardner Pinnacles is the last high island in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Photo Credit: Andy Collins The Hawaiian Archipelago is composed of “high” islands, and low-lying islands and atolls. “High islands” generally refer to islands where the basalt rock from volcanic formation is still above the ocean’s surface.

  1. Low islands, by contrast, are islands composed of sedimented material, coral rubble, or uplifted coral reefs.
  2. In the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the last high island in the chain is Gardner Pinnacles.
  3. Beyond Gardner, basalt cannot be observed above the surface, and remnant basalt structures are covered by coral reef skeletons.

At Midway and Kure these “coral caps” are thicker than 1000 feet. If you consider that the islands are eroding and collapsing back into the sea after they leave the hot spot, currently beneath the Island of Hawaiʻi, you will notice an anomaly with the partially submerged atoll of French Frigate Shoals (FFS).

  1. It does not appear to make sense that Gardner is still above the surface, whereas most of FFS is submerged.
  2. This is likely a by-product of the bending of Earth’s crust beneath the tremendous weight of a Hawaiian shield volcano.
  3. The weight of new volcanic matter causes a ripple in the Earth’s crust that uplifts adjacent volcanic islands, like a wave.

It is likely that the island that once was Gardner was lifted up by the formation of FFS approximately 12 million years ago and this is evident in Gardner’s basalt rock still being visible today. : Physical Feature: High Islands

What is the Central Pacific island group with many current former US territories?

This article is about the wider region in the Pacific. For the French collectivity, see French Polynesia, For the genus of moth, see Polynesia (moth), For the point of land in the South Orkney Islands, see Signy Island, Polynesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania, made up of more than 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean, The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are called Polynesians, They have many things in common, including language relatedness, cultural practices, and traditional beliefs,

In centuries past, they had a strong shared tradition of sailing and using stars to navigate at night. The largest country in Polynesia is New Zealand, The term Polynésie was first used in 1756 by the French writer Charles de Brosses, who originally applied it to all the islands of the Pacific, In 1831, Jules Dumont d’Urville proposed a narrower definition during a lecture at the Société de Géographie of Paris.

By tradition, the islands located in the southern Pacific have also often been called the South Sea Islands, and their inhabitants have been called South Sea Islanders, The Hawaiian Islands have often been considered to be part of the South Sea Islands because of their relative proximity to the southern Pacific islands, even though they are in fact located in the North Pacific,

What are the differences between high Pacific Islands and low Pacific Islands?

13b. Distinguish between low islands and high islands –

What are high and low islands? How are low islands related to high islands? Which regions are dominated by high or low islands?

The distinction between high and low islands is based on their origin rather than their elevation. High islands are of volcanic origin, and low islands are formed from the sedimentation or uplift of coral reefs, Some low islands are hundreds of feet in elevation, such as Nauru in Micronesia which reaches 233 feet above sea level.

There are also high islands that rise only a few hundred feet above sea level. High and low islands are often found in proximity to each other because low islands often surround submerged extinct volcanoes as atolls, These once high islands have eroded to the point that they have subsided, leaving only a ring of growing coral visible at the surface.

Most of Micronesia is composed of low islands, whereas Polynesia and Melanesia have many high islands. All three regions intersect the Pacific Ring of Fire, Review The Pacific Islands,

What is the difference between the three types of Pacific Islands?

Key Takeaways –

  • Melanesia includes the islands from Papua New Guinea to Fiji. Micronesia includes small islands located north of Melanesia. Polynesia includes island groups from the Hawaiian Islands to the Pitcairn Islands. Papua New Guinea is the largest country in the Pacific, approximately seven hundred languages are spoken by the many local groups that live there.
  • Low islands in this region are usually composed of coral and low in elevation. High islands are usually volcanic in origin and mountainous with high elevations. Micronesia consists mainly of low islands, while Polynesia consists of many high islands, such as Hawaii.
  • Tourism is the main economic activity in the Pacific, but minerals and fossil fuels provide some islands with additional wealth. Fishing and subsistence agriculture have been the traditional livelihoods. Offshore banking has also been established in the region.
  • The United States, the United Kingdom, and France used various islands for nuclear testing. Radiation fallout continues to be an environmental concern. Typhoons, tsunamis, volcanic activity, earthquakes, and flooding create devastation on the islands. Fresh water can be a valuable resource, as it is in short supply on many islands.

How do high islands have an advantage over low islands?

Abstract – High islands, with potentially greater habitat diversity, are expected to have greater species richness and diversity compared to low islands, typically atolls and coral islands of lower habitat diversity, within the same geographical area.

Patterns of species similarity, richness, and diversity were compared among coral reef fishes between the low island of the Southwest Palau Islands (SWPI), and the low and high islands of the Main Palauan Archipelago (MPA). Data from diurnal visual transects accounted for approximately 64% and 69% of the shorefish faunas known from the SWPI and MPA, respectively.

Two distinct fish faunas were representative of low and high islands. The first was confined to the coral islands of the SWPI. The second was partitioned into both low and high islands of the MPA, and Helen Reef, a large atoll in the SWPI. The second type was clustered into atolls, low islands with atoll-like barrier reef systems, a coral island, and three high island systems, one with an extensive barrier reef system.

Contrary to the prediction that high islands, with relatively greater habitat diversity, would have greater species richness and diversity, species richness and diversity were greatest at Kossol, a large atoll-like ‘low island’ locality at the northern end of a high island in the MPA, followed by two atolls, Kayangel (MPA, north of Kossol) and Helen Reef.

In contrast, species richness and diversity were lower at high island localities and lowest at small coral islands. These results suggest that habitat diversity for reef fishes increases as a function of increasing area regardless of whether the locality is a high or low island.

What are the characteristics of the Pacific islands?

The World Bank’s Pacific Island member countries have a combined population of about 2.3 million people across a unique and diverse region. The region is made up of hundreds of islands scattered over an area equivalent to 15% of the earth’s surface. There is great diversity across the Pacific Islands region, from Fiji, which is the largest country of the group (excluding Papua New Guinea ) with a population of over 900,000, to Tuvalu and Nauru, with estimated populations of approximately 11,000 each; making them the World Bank Group’s smallest members by population.

Iribati is one of the most remote and geographically dispersed countries in the world, consisting of 33 coral atolls spread over 3.5 million square kilometers of ocean – an area larger than India. Pacific Island countries have substantial natural resources, contain extraordinary linguistic and cultural diversity, and are setting the stage to enhance digital connectivity and trade in goods and services with global markets.

However, Pacific countries are physically remote, have small populations spread across many islands, confront many of the worst impacts of climate change, and are some of the world’s most vulnerable countries to natural disasters. The remoteness of many of the Pacific Island countries provided some initial protection from the global COVID-19 pandemic, yet outbreaks eventually occurred across the region.

As the region recovers from the pandemic, many Pacific countries are facing health and economic impacts that are stifling growth and creating new development challenges. The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, endorsed by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in 2022, is a strong Pacific-led development strategy for the region.

The World Bank is ready to support the region in translating the Strategy into action over the coming years. The strategy will inform the World Bank’s actions in the Pacific, deepening the growing partnership between the World Bank and the Pacific, while leading to direct results for Pacific people.

Sustained development progress will require inclusive community-based approaches as well as long-term cooperation between governments, international development partners and regional organizations. The compounding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing climate and disaster shocks on Pacific Island countries will continue to pose major challenges for the region in the years ahead.

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2022

Do low islands have rich soil?

Climate and habitability – Low islands have poor, sandy soil and little fresh water, which makes them difficult to farm. They cannot support human habitation as well as high islands. They are also threatened by sea level rise due to global warming, The people that do live on low islands survive mostly by fishing. Low islands usually have an oceanic climate,

Are high islands larger than low islands?

Island An island is a body of land surrounded by water Biology, Ecology, Earth Science, Geology, Oceanography, Geography, Physical Geography An island is a body of land surrounded by water. Continents are also surrounded by water, but because they are so big, they are not considered islands. Australia, the smallest continent, is more than three times the size of Greenland, the largest island.

  1. There are countless islands in the ocean, lakes, and rivers around the world.
  2. They vary greatly in size, climate, and the kinds of organisms that inhabit them.
  3. Many islands are quite small, covering less than half a hectare (one acre).
  4. These tiny islands are often called islets.
  5. Islands in rivers are sometimes called aits or eyots.
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Other islands are huge. Greenland, for example, covers an area of about 2,166,000 square kilometers (836,000 square miles). Some islands, such as the Aleutian Islands in the U.S. state of Alaska, are cold and ice-covered all year. Others, such as Tahiti, lie in warm, tropical waters.

Many islands, such as Easter Island in the South Pacific Ocean, are thousands of kilometers from the nearest mainland. Other islands, such as the Greek islands known as the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea, are found in closely spaced groups called archipelagoes, Many islands are little more than barren rock with few plants or animals on them.

Others are among the most crowded places on Earth. Tokyo, one of the world’s largest cities, is on the island of Honshu in Japan. On another island, Manhattan, rise the towering skyscrapers of the financial capital of the world, New York City. For centuries, islands have been stopping places for ships.

Because of isolation, many islands have also been home to some of the world’s most unusual and fascinating wildlife. Island Formation There are six major kinds of islands: continental (1), tidal (2), barrier (3), oceanic (4), coral (5), and artificial (6). Continental islands (1) were once connected to a continent.

They still sit on the continental shelf, Some formed as Earth’s shifting continents broke apart. Scientists say that millions of years ago, there was only one large continent. This supercontinent was called Pangaea. Eventually, slow movements of the Earth’s crust broke apart Pangaea into several pieces that began to drift apart.

  1. When the breakup occurred, some large chunks of land split.
  2. These fragments of land became islands.
  3. Greenland and Madagascar are these type of continental islands.
  4. Other continental islands formed because of changes in sea level.
  5. At the peak of the most recent glacial period, about 18,000 years ago, ice covered large parts of the Earth.

Water was locked in glaciers, and the sea level was much lower than it is today. As glaciers began to melt, the sea level rose. The ocean flooded many low-lying areas, creating islands such as the British Isles, which were once part of mainland Europe.

Some large continental islands are broken off the main continental shelf, but still associated with the continent. These are called microcontinents or continental crustal fragments. Zealandia is a microcontinent off Australia that is almost completely underwater—except for the island nation of New Zealand.

Continental islands may form through the weathering and erosion of a link of land that once connected an island to the mainland. Tidal islands (2) are a type of continental island where land connecting the island to the mainland has not completely eroded, but is underwater at high tide,

The famous island of Mont Saint-Michel, France is an example of a tidal island. Barrier islands (3) are narrow and lie parallel to coastlines. Some are a part of the continental shelf (continental islands) and made of sediment —sand, silt, and gravel. Barrier islands can also be coral islands, made from billions of tiny coral exoskeletons,

Barrier islands are separated from shore by a lagoon or a sound. They are called barrier islands because they act as barriers between the ocean and the mainland. They protect the coast from being directly battered by storm waves and winds. Some barrier islands form when ocean currents pile up sand on sandbars parallel to coastlines.

  1. Eventually the sandbars rise above the water as islands.
  2. Aits, or islands in rivers, form in this way.
  3. The same currents that formed these barrier islands can also destroy or erode them.
  4. Other barrier islands formed during the most recent ice age.
  5. As glaciers melted, the sea level rose around coastal sand dunes, creating low-lying, sandy islands.

The Outer Banks, along the southeastern coast of the United States, are this type of barrier island. Still other barrier islands were formed of materials deposited by Ice Age glaciers. When glaciers melted, they left piles of the rock, soil, and gravel they had carved out of the landscape.

  1. These piles of debris are called moraines,
  2. As flooding occurred along coasts after the glaciers melted, these moraines were surrounded by water.
  3. Long Island, New York, and Nantucket, Massachusetts, are both barrier islands formed by glacial moraines.
  4. Oceanic islands (4), also known as volcanic islands, are formed by eruptions of volcanoes on the ocean floor.

No matter what their height, oceanic islands are also known as “high islands.” Continental and coral islands, which may be hundreds of meters taller than high islands, are called “low islands.” As vol canoes erupt, they build up layers of lava that may eventually break the water’s surface.

When the tops of the volcanoes appear above the water, an island is formed. While the volcano is still beneath the ocean surface, it is called a seamount, Oceanic islands can form from different types of volcanoes. One type forms in subduction zones, where one tectonic plate is shifting under another.

The island nation of Japan sits at the site of four tectonic plates. Two of these plates, the Eurasian plate to the west and the North American plate to the north, are associated with continental shelves. The other two, the Philippine plate and the Pacific plate, are oceanic.

The heavy oceanic plates (the Pacific and the Philippine) are subducting beneath the lighter Eurasian and North American plates. Japan’s islands are some of the most actively volcanic in the world. Another type of volcano that can create an oceanic island forms when tectonic plates rift, or split apart from one another.

In 1963, the island of Surtsey was born when a volcanic eruption spewed hot lava in the Atlantic Ocean near Iceland. The volcano was the result of the Eurasian tectonic plate splitting away from the North American plate. This tiny island is one of the world’s newest natural islands.

  1. Another type of oceanic island forms as a continent shifts over a ” hot spot,” A hot spot is a break in the Earth’s crust where material from the mantle bubbles or rushes up.
  2. The crust shifts, but the hot spot beneath stays relatively stable.
  3. Over millions of years, a single hot spot formed the islands of the U.S.

state of Hawaii. Hawaii’s “Big Island” is still being formed by Mauna Loa and Kilauea, two volcanoes currently sitting over the hot spot. The newest Hawaiian island, Loihi, also sits over the hot spot, but is still a seamount about 914 meters (3,000 feet) beneath the Pacific.

  1. Coral islands (5) are low islands formed in warm waters by tiny sea animals called corals.
  2. Corals build up hard external skeletons of calcium carbonate.
  3. This material, also known as limestone, is similar to the shells of sea creatures like clams and mussels.
  4. Colonies of corals may form huge reefs,
  5. Some coral reefs may grow up in thick layers from the seafloor, until they break the water’s surface, creating coral islands.

Other organic and inorganic material, like rock and sand, helps create coral islands. The islands of the Bahamas, in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, are coral islands. Another kind of coral island is the atoll, An atoll is a coral reef that begins by growing in a ring around the sides of an oceanic island.

As the volcano slowly sinks into the sea, the reef continues to grow. Atolls are found chiefly in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Artificial islands (6) are made by people. Artificial islands are created in different ways for different purposes. Artificial islands can expand part of an already-existing island by draining the water around it.

This creates more arable land for development or agriculture, The Nahua people of 14th-century Mexico created their capital, Tenochtitlan, from an artificial island in Lake Texcoco. They expanded an island in the swampy lake and connected it to the mainland through roads.

Aqueducts supplied the city’s 200,000 residents with freshwater. Mexico City sits on the remains of Tenochtitlan. Artificial islands can also be created from material brought in from elsewhere. In Dubai, companies dig ( dredge ) sand from the Persian Gulf and spray it near shore. Dubai’s huge artificial islands are shaped like palm trees and a map of the world.

A new island complex, the Dubai Waterfront, will be the largest man-made development in the world. Many island chains are combinations of different kinds of islands. The island nation of Seychelles is made of both continental granite islands and coral islands.

  1. Island Wildlife The kinds of organisms that live on and around an island depend on how that island was formed and where it is located.
  2. Continental islands have wildlife much like that of the continent they were once connected to.
  3. The critically endangered island fox, native to the six Channel Islands off southern California, is much like the grey fox of the North American mainland, for instance.

Isolated oceanic and coral islands, however, have plant and animal life that may have come from distant places. Organisms reach these islands by traveling long distances across the water. Some plant seeds may travel by drifting in the ocean. The seeds of coconut palms, for instance, are encased in durable, buoyant shells that can float significant distances.

The seeds of red mangrove trees often float to new locations along a coastline. Other plant seeds travel to islands on the wind. Many lightweight seeds, such as fluffy thistle seeds and the spores of ferns, can drift long distances in air currents. Still other plant seeds may be transported to islands by birds—dirt stuck on their feet or feathers, or released in their droppings.Birds, flying insects, and bats all reach islands by air.

Many are blown long distances by storm winds. Other creatures may ride to islands on floating masses of plants, branches, and soil, sometimes with trees still standing on them. These land rafts are called floating islands, Floating islands are usually torn from coasts and swept away during storms, volcano eruptions, earthquakes, and floods.

  1. Floating islands can carry small animals hundreds of kilometers to new homes on islands.
  2. Snakes, turtles, insects, and rodents find shelter in tree branches or among plant leaves.
  3. Some of the best travelers are lizards, which can survive a long time with little freshwater.
  4. People create their own artificial floating islands.

The Uros people are native to the area surrounding Lake Titicaca, in Peru and Bolivia. The Uros live on 42 large floating islands constructed of reeds and earth. The islands can be anchored to the bottom of the lake using stone and rope. Because plants and animals living on islands are isolated, they sometimes change to adapt to their surroundings.

  1. Adaptive radiation is a process in which many species develop to fill a variety of different roles, called niches, in the environment.
  2. The most famous example of adaptive radiation is probably the evolution of the finch species of the Galapagos Islands.
  3. This group of birds is called “Darwin’s finches” because the scientist Charles Darwin was the first to study and document their adaptations.

With no competition or threats from other species, the birds adapted to eat different foods. Their beaks reflect the different roles they play in the Galapagos Islands ecosystem : a finch with a large beak eats hard-shelled fruits and nuts, while a thin-beaked finch gets its nutrition from cactus flowers.

Lacking predators, some island creatures become enormous. This is called island gigantism, Also on the Galapagos Islands, giant tortoises developed from smaller ancestors over millions of years. Scientists believe the first tortoises probably came to the islands from South America on floating islands.

Gradually, the animals grew larger in body size because there were few competitors for the plants they ate. Today, the tortoises may weigh as much as 250 kilograms (551 pounds). Scalesias, plants related to sunflowers, gradually grew larger on the Galapagos Islands, too, because there were few insects or rodents that ate the flowers.

  • Eventually, scalesia trees grew to be 6-9 meters (20-30 feet) tall.
  • Scalesias are called the “Darwin’s finches of the plant world.” The isolated populations on islands can lead to smaller, as well as larger, species.
  • This process is called insular dwarfism,
  • The critically endangered Sumatran tiger is only found on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.

It is significantly smaller than its Asian cousins, because it has less land to roam, smaller prey to feed on, and must move quickly in the jungle. The isolation of many islands may protect some animals on them from predators and other dangers that exist on mainlands.

Relatives of some animals long extinct in most parts of the world still survive on islands. One of the most remarkable of all creatures was discovered in 1913 on the island of Komodo, Indonesia. Rumors of fantastic animals on Komodo had persisted over the years. When scientists arrived to investigate, they were astounded to see what looked like a dragon.

The creature was a gigantic lizard nearly 3 meters (10 feet) long. Soon, more of these enormous reptiles were discovered, some even larger. Called Komodo dragons, they were found to be relatives to the Earth’s most ancient group of lizards. The isolation of the island of Komodo had preserved them.

  1. People can accidentally or intentionally introduce organisms to island habitats,
  2. These organisms are called introduced species or exotic species.
  3. Ships delivering goods, for example, may unintentionally dump exotic algae into the water with their ballast,
  4. Ships carrying food cargo may accidentally carry tiny, hidden spiders or snakes.

Island residents also bring pets with them. Some of these pets are released into the wild, either accidentally or on purpose. Islands and People How the world’s most remote islands were first discovered and settled is one of the most fascinating stories in human history.

  • The vast Pacific Ocean is sprinkled with many small islands, such as the Marquesas, Easter Island, and the Hawaiian Islands.
  • These islands are far from the coasts of the Americas, Asia, and Australia.
  • When Europeans began exploring the Pacific islands in the 1500s, they found people already living there.

We now know these people as Polynesians. Where did these people come from? Most scientists say the ancestors of these Pacific island inhabitants originally came from Southeast Asia, probably around Taiwan. (The famous scientist Thor Heyerdahl disagreed.

He said Polynesians migrated to the Pacific islands from the west coasts of North and South America. Heyerdahl successfully sailed a wooden raft, the Kon-Tiki, from Peru to Raroia, French Polynesia, in 1947. Although this proved the migration was possible, linguistic and genetic evidence suggest it is unlikely.) Beginning around 3,000-4,000 years ago, groups of early Polynesians set out in great oceangoing canoes on voyages over thousands of kilometers of ocean.

World Geography Online – Pacific Island Physical Geography

Sailing without compasses or maps, they discovered islands they could not have known existed. Their most famous expeditions took them east, as far as the Hawaiian Islands and Easter Island. Recent evidence suggests these early people also sailed west, across the Indian Ocean.

  1. They were probably the first people to inhabit the African island of Madagascar.
  2. Archaeologists who study Polynesian culture say the ancient Pacific people were excellent sailors who navigated by the stars.
  3. Many sailors still use celestial navigation,
  4. Ancient Polynesians also knew how to interpret winds and ocean waves.

Some of their voyages were probably accidental, and occurred when storms blew canoes traveling to nearby islands off course. Other voyages were almost certainly intentional. Europeans visited and colonized remote islands beginning in the 1500s. They sometimes caused harm.

For example, they brought devastating diseases unknown to islanders, who had no resistance to them. Many island people perished from diseases such as measles. Island populations such the Taino (in the Caribbean, probably the first Native Americans encountered by Christopher Columbus) shrunk to near-extinction.

On their ships, Europeans also brought animals—including cats, dogs, rats, snakes, and goats. These invasive species preyed on native island plants and animals. They also took over native species’ niches and destroyed the natural ecological balance of the islands.

The so-called Jamaican monkey, for example, was native to the Caribbean but went extinct after Europeans colonized the area. Since the days of the early explorers, islands have been important as places for ships to take on supplies and for their crews to rest. Later, islands became part of ocean trade routes, linking distant parts of the world.

Islands became particularly important to seafaring thieves known as pirates, Islands from the Bahamas (in the Atlantic Ocean) to Madagascar (in the Indian Ocean) became notorious as pirate bases. The rule of law did not always reach these remote places, and the rugged terrain made finding pirate hideouts difficult for law enforcement.

Like stepping stones, islands have helped people migrate over vast expanses of ocean from one continent to another. During World War II, Asian battles were fought in the “Pacific theater” of the war. Instead of attacking Japan directly, Allied powers (led by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union) chose a strategy of ” island hopping,” Allied forces “hopped” from one small Pacific island to the next, establishing military bases and air control.

The battles of Guadalcanal and Tarawa were important battles in the island-hopping campaign. Today, millions of people live on islands all over the world. Some even own them—islands are available for purchase just like any other piece of real estate. There are many island nations.

  • Island nations can be part of an island (such as Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share the island of Hispaniola), one island (such as Madagascar), or many islands (such as the Philippines).
  • Islands and Climate Change Some low-lying coral islands may be threatened by climate change.
  • Global warming has led to rising sea levels, while rising sea temperatures have led to coral bleaching —the process of destroying the coral on which many new islands form.

Some scientists believe rising sea levels put low-lying islands at greater risk for damage from tsunamis, floods, and tropical storms. The island nation of Maldives is particularly threatened by sea level rise, for example. Maldives is a chain of 26 atolls in the tropical Indian Ocean.

All the atolls of Maldives are low-lying, and some uninhabited areas are even covered by shallow water at high tide. Tsunamis and storms regularly erode at the fragile coral islands. Extreme weather, such as storms and cyclones, has become more frequent and is often associated with climate change. The delicate beaches of Maldives are eroding at a fast pace.

Maldivians are protecting their islands. They are addressing current threats by dredging sand from the ocean floor. This sand has fortified the coastline and elevated some structures to several meters above sea level. However, Maldivians are also preparing for the worst.

Leaders have considered migrating the entire Maldivian population to Australia, Sri Lanka, or India if sea levels continue to rise. Climate change can also threaten island economies. Tourism is an important industry for many island nations. Bleached and dying coral, invasive algae and jellies, and beach pollution reduce the number of tourists who want to dive or snorkel among the coral reefs.

More than 80% of the economy of the Virgin Islands, in the Caribbean Sea, relies on tourism, for example. A change in the water quality, coral reef ecosystems, or pristine beaches would devastate the livelihood of islanders. This would impact not only residents of the Virgin Islands, but other nations, as economic refugees migrated to countries with more stable economies.

  • Islands are now valued by people as homes for rare and endangered wildlife.
  • Many islands where people once destroyed native species by hunting them or destroying their habitats are now maintained as national parks and wildlife refuges.
  • On some of these island preserves, such as the Galapagos Islands, scientists conduct research to learn more about wildlife and how to protect the animals from further harm.The Galapagos ecosystems, both terrestrial and marine, are a example of human impact on islands.

More than 100,000 people visit the protected islands of the Galapagos every year. Tourists flock to see the indigenous wildlife, such as marine iguanas, giant tortoises, and blue-footed boobies. Scientists come to study the unusual wildlife and the way it evolved.

  1. The population of the Galapagos has grown to accommodate tourists and scientists.
  2. Thousands of people have migrated to the islands illegally in search of a more stable economic livelihood.
  3. Tourists and Galapagueños (most in the service industry ) have stressed the environment with development such as clearing land for housing, industry, and agriculture; the need for sophisticated energy and sewage systems; and increased demand for freshwater.

The marine ecosystem of the Galapagos is also threatened by human activity. Although the islands prohibit some forms of fishing, fisheries such as marlin and tuna thrive in the area. Overfishing, however, threatens the population of these large, predatory fish and the livelihood of the people who depend on them for food and trade.

  • The international community, through the United Nations and many non-governmental agencies, work with Galapagueños and the government of Ecuador to successfully manage the ecosystems of the Galapagos and develop their economy.
  • Fast Fact Desert Islands So-called “desert islands” rarely have a hot, arid desert climate.

Desert islands have nothing to do with desertsthey’re just deserted, They have no human inhabitants. Fast Fact Ellis Island The tiny islet in New York Bay was expanded by artificial means in the 19th century. Wells were dug and landfill was hauled in to create a new island.

  1. This land was excavated from New York’s new subway tunnels.
  2. Fast Fact Moa, Please Isolated islands can be home to unusualand vulnerablespecies.
  3. When Polynesians called Maori first came to the islands that are now New Zealand, they were met by unusual species: huge birds called moas.
  4. Moas weighed up to 230 kilograms (500 pounds) and could reach 4 meters (13 feet) in length.

Scientists think moas did not walk upright, so we dont know how tall they stood. There were no small mammals to hunt the moas; their only predator was the huge Haasts eagle. People arrived in New Zealand about 1300. These Maori settlers cleared forests and hunted the large, slow-moving moa.

  1. By 1400, moas and Haasts eagles were extinct.
  2. Fast Fact Read All About It Isolated islands have played a major role in fiction and non-fiction literature.Fictional Islands: * The ancient Greek writer Plato wrote about the lost island continent of Atlantis in his books Timeaus and Critias,
  3. The island of Avalon is the mystical resting place of Britains King Arthur, first written about by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of the Kings of England,* Robinson Crusoe (hero of the novel by Daniel Defoe) was stranded for 28 years on an island in the Caribbean Sea.* The fictional Amity Island off the American East Coast is menaced by a great white shark in Peter Benchleys Jaws,* The fictional island of Genosha, in the Indian Ocean, is important to many plots in X-Men comic book series.Non-fictional Islands: * Another ancient Greek writer, Homer, wrote about an island-hopping Greek sailor, Odysseus, in his book The Odyssey,
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Many islands in The Odyssey, such as Sicily, Corfu, and Malta, can still easily be found on a map. * The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and died on the Mediterranean island of St. Helena. (He was also born on a Mediterranean islandCorsica.) * The play and movie Mutiny on the Bounty tell the story of Fletcher Christian, who illegally took control of a ship (the Bounty ) and hid from law enforcement on remote Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific.

  1. Fast Fact Spiral Island The British explorer and environmentalist Richard Sowa built his own floating island off the east coast of Mexico in 1998.
  2. Spiral Island was created from more than 250,000 plastic bottles collected in large fishing nets.
  3. Sowa put a bamboo flooring over the bottles, and carried sand and plants onto Spiral Island.

The empty, lightweight bottles float on the top of the Gulf of Mexico and support Sowa’s home and garden. Spiral Island was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Emily. Sowa then built Spiral Island II, also from plastic bottles. Fast Fact Call Me ‘Your Majesty’ Throughout history, many people have tried to establish their own kingdoms (micronations) on islands.

One famous example is the Republic of Minerva. An American millionaire constructed an artificial island on a South Pacific coral reef. A Minervan government was formed. Minervan money was printed. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit.

The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited. Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing, Emdash Editing National Geographic Society

Why isn t Australia considered the largest island in the world?

According to Britannica, an island is a mass of land that is both ‘entirely surrounded by water’ and also ‘smaller than a continent.’ By that definition, Australia can’t be an island because it’s already a continent.

Why is Australia not the largest island in the world?

How Are The Pacific’S Low Islands Distinct From The High Islands “Why is Australia a continent and Greenland is not? Even though Australia is the smallest of the accepted continents, Australia is still more than 3.5 times larger than Greenland. There has to be a line in the sand between small continent and the world’s largest island and traditionally that line exists between Australia and Greenland.

To help resolve the confusion as to why Greenland the world’s largest island but Australia gets to be the smallest continent. The main reason is all about the continental shelf and not the coastline–Greenland is connected to North America to the continental shelf while Australia has its own shelf. I know many of you have been fans of Matt Rosenberg’s online resources over the years. If you have lost track of him, he is continuing to share geographic information on ThoughtCo,

Tags: Greenland, Australia, geology,

What are the three Pacific Islands?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Pacific Islands are a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, They are further categorized into three major island groups: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, Depending on the context, the term Pacific Islands may refer to one of several different concepts: (1) those countries and islands with common Austronesian origins, (2) the islands once (or currently) colonized, or (3) the geographical region of Oceania,

Is Japan a Pacific island?

Hover over Click on a tile for details. The Pacific Islands is a area geographic region of the Pacific Ocean comprised of three ethnogeographic groupings: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, The region is made up of independent states, associated states, and parts of non-Pacific countries.

  • The Pacific Islands do not include Australia, the Aleutian Chain islands, or the Indonesian, Philippine, and Japanese archipelagoes.
  • The Pacific Islands span over 300,000 square miles (800,000 square kilometers) and millions of square miles of ocean.
  • The Pacific Islands create a triangle, starting at New Guinea, stretching to Hawaii, and then down to New Zealand,

New Zealand and Papua New Guinea make up about 90% of the Pacific Islands’ total square mileage. The Pacific Island nations vary in size. Papua New Guinea is the largest by land mass and population, spanning over 178,704 square miles and home to about 8.9 million people.

Nauru is the smallest nation, with a size of only 8.1 square miles (21 square kilometers) and a population of 10,800. The majority of the region’s population is located in Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands, Each nation tends to be densely populated with most people living along the coast.

Several hundred languages are spoken in the region; however, most people have familiarity with English or French since one or the other is the official language of virtually all of the nations. Christianity is widespread among the islands and is sometimes combined with traditional practices.

The region is not without its challenges. Of the Pacific Island nations, only New Zealand is classified as a developed country, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu are classified as least-developed countries and the remaining nations are classified as developing. Eight of the ten most obese countries in the world are Pacific Island nations, a problem attribute to the influence of Western settlers, who taught them to fry their foods and import more process, less healthy food products.

The islands are also small in size and have limited natural resources, narrowly-based economies, are far from major markets, and are vulnerable to external shocks. Most Pacific Island economies are developing and imports exceed exports for most nations.

Some islands are overseas territories of larger, developed nations, allowing them to receive aid, while other independent states receive help from other nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Many of the Pacific Island nations’ economies rely on tourism. Agriculture, fishing, and services are the three largest economic sectors overall in the region.

Manufacturing is limited in most nations except for New Zealand. Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and some other nations can export timber and other wood products thanks to the availability of commercially exploitable forests. There are 15 independent Pacific Island nations in addition to tens of thousands of islands, islets, and atolls.

Northern Mariana Islands Federate States of Micronesia Fiji French Polynesia Kiribati Marshall Islands Nauru New Caledonia New Zealand Palau Samoa Solomon Islands Tonga Tuvalu Vanuatu Wallis and Futuna

How many Pacific island nations are there?

Fifteen Pacific island countries and areas are included in the Country Cooperation Strategy for the Pacific Island Countries.

How are high islands and low islands similar?

Both high and low islands are islands that have gradually formed over time and are not directly to nearby continents or pieces broken off of continents. Contrary to the name high islands are frequently lower in elevation than low islands.

Why do low islands usually have low populations?

Issue – The rise in sea level has far surpassed the 2007 estimate from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and could reach 2 meters within this century. Human populations are generally concentrated along coastlines, and people on low-lying islands in the Pacific are at particular risk since they cannot move to higher elevations.

With a cultural history going back hundreds of years in these islands, inhabitants would not want simply to leave. Large swells from the north-northeast with heights up to 5 meters (16 feet) combined with unusually high tides inundated much of the Republic of the Marshall Islands on March 2, 2014. Map shows the Pacific Ocean and locations of countries, islands, island nations, and atolls.

Some of these islands have average elevations of only 2 meters above sea level and are exposed to waves as high as 5 to 7 meters most winters. Coral reefs surrounding these islands provide an important natural barrier that dissipates the destructive energy from large waves, but this protection will decline as sea-level rise outpaces reef growth.

The effects of storm waves coupled with sea-level rise will exacerbate flooding problems, but these effects have generally not been incorporated into climate change projections Furthermore, the islands’ shallow, freshwater aquifers can be contaminated by a rise in sea level and subsequent saltwater flooding, which can also destroy most of the agricultural and habitable lands located in low-lying areas.

This instrument measures wave height, wave direction, current speed, and current direction. The instrument has been installed on the fore reef of Roi-Namur Island of Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Knowing what is possible to protect can save time and money for individuals, planners, and government officials.

Many islands in the Pacific Ocean are part of the U.S (such as Hawaii), are U.S. territories (for example, Guam, Johnston Atoll, Jarvis Island, American Samoa), or fall under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of the Interior (U.S. Office of Insular Affairs) and the Department of Defense because they are part of the Compact of Free Association (for example, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia).

The Republic of the Marshall Islands has collected meteorological and oceanographic data on rising seas for several decades—data that can help researchers determine what might happen to other islands around the world. Which islands are immediately threatened? Which have more time to plan for sea-level rise? USGS research can tackle those questions that ultimately help world leaders set priorities for their own nations and understand the potential consequences of an influx of climate change refugees from other nations.

Why are Pacific Islands more vulnerable to climate change?

Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Tropical Cyclones – Here’s the climate reality: Climate scientists expect that hurricanes around the world will become more intense due to climate change. Because of geography and sometimes-limited resources, Pacific island nations are already especially vulnerable to these disasters.

We’ve already established that, on average, sea surface temperatures are climbing across the globe. And as sea surface temperatures become warmer, hurricanes can become more powerful. (By the way, hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones are all the same weather phenomenon. But different regions generally use different names.) As climate scientist Dr.

Michael Mann told Climate Reality, “For a long time, we’ve understood, based on pretty simple physics, that as you warm the ocean’s surface, you’re going to get more intense hurricanes. Whether you get more hurricanes or fewer hurricanes, the strongest storms will tend to become stronger.” Think of a hurricane like an engine and warm, moist air as its fuel,

For Pacific island nations, hurricanes (or as they’re known in the region, tropical cyclones) are already a very real threat. In 2015, Tropical Cyclone Pam hit the Republic of Vanuatu and devastated the nation. It’s considered one of the worst disasters in the country’s history and damages cost the equivalent of 64 percent of the country’s 2016 GDP,

This isn’t supposed to happen. As Kiribati’s then-President Anote Tong said in 2015, “When you’re on the equator, it’s supposed to be in the doldrums. We’re not supposed to get the cyclones. We create them, and then we send them either north or south. But they aren’t supposed to come back.

What are the different types of Pacific Islands?

Results: outcomes of classification – Several primary attributes for each of 1779 islands in the Pacific Basin, namely island location, area and type, where type is determined by the dominant lithology and maximum elevation, were compiled in a database. Island locations within the Pacific Basin showing their relationship with principal island-forming island locations (plate boundaries and hotspots from Fig.1 ) Fig.3 Areas of islands within the Pacific Basin with plate boundaries (not hotspots) also shown Fig.4 Lithology of islands within the Pacific Basin with plate boundaries (not hotspots) also shown Fig.5 Maximum elevation of islands within the Pacific Basin with plate boundaries (not hotspots) also shown Fig.6 Types of islands within the Pacific Basin with plate boundaries (not hotspots) also shown Islands are distributed unevenly throughout the Pacific Basin (Fig.2 ), the most numerous being in the southwest quadrant and fewest in the northeast quadrant. They are clustered, mostly in linear patterns, yet there are vast tracts of landless ocean, especially in the eastern Pacific (approximately 140–100°W) and in high-latitude areas. Areas were determined for all islands in the database (Fig.3 ). The map in Fig.3 shows the distribution of islands by size, the key shows the proportion of islands in each size category. The distribution is dominated by small islands, with 67 % <10 km 2 and 44 % <1 km 2 in area. Large islands, those with an area >100 km 2, comprise approximately 6 % of the 1779 islands in the database. Five lithological types are recognized for Pacific islands: composite, continental, limestone, reef, and volcanic. Their spatial distribution is shown in Fig.4 with proportions given in the key. Volcanic (39 %) and reef (36 %) lithologies are the most common; limestone (17 %) and composite (7 %) follow, islands with continental lithologies are few (1 %). All islands in the database are classified as either high (maximum elevation of 30 m or higher) or low (maximum elevation <30 m), although five elevation categories have been identified for the purposes of discussion and are shown in Fig.5,45 % of the islands are lower than 30 m, with 27 % less than 5 m. In contrast, 26 % are higher than 100 m. Island type is the combination of lithology and elevation and is regarded as the highest-level basis for meaningful classification of Pacific islands. The distribution of islands by type is shown in Fig.6 with the key showing the proportions of each. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most common types are reef islands (36 %) and volcanic high islands (31 %) and the least common are composite low islands (1 %). Continental islands, 18 of the 1779 islands examined, are not included in the classification.

What is the difference between Pacific and peaceful?

Words nearby pacific – pachydermatous, pachymeningitis, pachysandra, pachytene, Pacif., pacific, Pacifica, pacifically, Pacific Antarctic Ridge, pacificate, pacification Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc.2023 The adjective pacific means peaceful, calm, tranquil, or nonviolent.

Is Pacific Islander a race or ethnicity?

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, NBC News is taking a closer look at some of the terminology used when discussing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in order to better understand why certain words and phrases are (or aren’t) used. Where did the “model minority myth” come from? What does “hapa” mean? We asked academics and experts to answer those questions and more.

What is the difference between “Asian American” and “Asian American and Pacific Islander”? What is “AMEMSA”? In 1968, the term “Asian American” was coined by Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee and other student activists as a strategic, unifying political identity for Asian ethnic groups to use as they resisted U.S.

imperialism in Southeast Asia, and white Americans’ use of “Oriental” as a derogatory term for Asians in the United States. By the 1980s, the U.S. Census Bureau grouped persons of Asian ancestry and created the category “Asian Pacific Islander,” which continued in the 1990s census.

  1. In 2000, “Asian” and “Pacific Islander” became two separate racial categories.
  2. The term has since been critiqued by scholars who argue that the term does not reflect the experience of Pacific Islanders who have and continue to experience a unique set of struggles relating to sovereignty and decolonization, and do not fit into the model minority stereotype which paints Asian Americans as successful, assimilated into American mainstream, and with “good” cultural values.

More recently, in the post-9/11 era, the term AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian) has emerged as another related identity grouping of distinct communities who have experienced Islamophobia, racial profiling as potential terrorists and other forms of targeted surveillance.

— Dr. Dawn Lee Tu, professional development and diversity and inclusion strategist at De Anza College If it is OK to say Englishman and Frenchman, why not Chinaman? And what does “Oriental” mean if not “Asian”? It’s certainly fine to describe people as being “from China,” but the label “Chinaman” has a long and racist history that was used to demonize and then discriminate against Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans.

“Chinaman” was a racial stereotype; a foreign (and unassimilable) menace who competed with whites for jobs, had a lower standard of living, and was racially inferior to whites. The “Chinaman” became a stock character in popular culture and public discourse.

And the perceived threat of Chinese immigration led to a range of local, state and national laws that discriminated against Chinese immigrants — and ultimately barred most from entering the U.S. under the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Before Asian Americans starting calling themselves “Asian Americans,” others used the demeaning term “Oriental.” This label also has a long and racist history.

During the age of European exploration and colonization, the diverse regions of Asia, including southwest Asia, were lumped together as the “Orient,” an exotic place that was seen as Europe’s opposite. It was full of fabulous riches, but also savage heathens and backward civilizations.

It was destined to be conquered and ruled by the more advanced and superior European powers. — Dr. Erika Lee, Ph.D., professor and director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota When talking about the Japanese American experience during World War II, why do some use “concentration camp” instead of “internment camp”? The term “concentration camp” was the term used by the U.S.

government to describe the intended purpose of containing Japanese Americans. The word “internment camp” was coined later, by the War Relocation Authority, as a euphemism. Japanese Americans were “incarcerated” during World War II. They were rounded up without consent and sent to camps because of the assumption of guilt by association.

  1. Internment” and “relocation” implies benign protection, but these were military stockades with sentries and barbed wire to keep American citizens from getting out.
  2. Ron Aramaki, adjunct faculty at the University of Michigan Department of American Culture How is the term “refugee” different from “immigrant”? Why does it matter? An immigrant chooses to leave and chooses where he or she will go.

If the immigrant is “legal,” then the immigrant at least has the hope of being welcomed at her or his destination, or at least accepted. While becoming an immigrant might be difficult, and while the immigrant’s life in a new country might be challenging, the journey itself between two countries is relatively safe.

A refugee is forced to leave, endures an often dangerous and life-threatening journey without a guarantee of a destination, may be fated to spend long stretches of time in refugee camps, and is often unwanted in both the country of the refugee camps and the country of destination, which are sometimes the same but oftentimes not.

The distinction between undocumented immigrant and refugee is oftentimes unclear and oftentimes amounts to a political distinction cast by the country of destination, which might have moral and political obligations to refugees but not to undocumented immigrants.

  1. These distinctions amount to matters of life and death for the person who is classified as immigrant, refugee or undocumented immigrant.
  2. These distinctions also matter to those of us who are looking at them, how we perceive them, and what degree of empathy we feel for them. — Dr.
  3. Viet Thanh Nguyen, professor of English and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning ” The Sympathizer ” and ” The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives ” What is the Secret War in Laos? What is the legacy of the Secret War? The Secret War refers to the U.S.

government’s involvement in the Second Indochina War during the 1960s and the 1970s, where, without a declaration of war by Congress, the Central Intelligence Agency led clandestine military operations in Laos. The U.S. war in Laos was kept a secret because it violated the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and 1962, which resulted in an agreement that Laos would remain neutral in the Cold War.U.S.

  • Intervention included providing the royal Lao government with financial aid and military advisers and recruitment of guerrilla forces comprised of Hmong, Lao and other ethnic groups.
  • The most significant and lasting intervention was a U.S.
  • Bombing campaign from 1964-1973, in which two million tons of bombs were dropped on Laos.

Up to 30 percent of the 270 million cluster bomblets dropped never exploded, killing or injuring 20,000 civilians since the bombing ended. The majority of the country’s 17 provinces are littered with the unexploded ordnance, which hinders sustainable development in Laos, contaminating land needed for farming, housing or development projects and leading to greater risk of death and injury.

Channapha Khamvongsa, executive director of Legacies of War What is the difference between “Hawaiian” and “Native Hawaiian”? HAWAIIAN: Caution. An ethnic group. Refers to a person who is of Polynesian descent. Unlike a term like Californian, Hawaiian should not be used for everyone living in Hawaii. The distinction is not trivial.

If Wales were the 51st state, not everyone living in Wales would be Welsh. — Asian American Journalists Association, ” Guide to Covering Asian America ” What is yellowface and whitewashing? Is colorblind casting the solution or the problem? What about white savior narratives? Yellowface is the term used to describe non-Asian actors (typically white) putting on makeup, including prosthetics, to look like a stereotyped version of an Asian person.

  • The prosthetics typically flatten eyelids and slant eyes while the makeup gives a yellow hue to the skin.
  • Similarly, whitewashing describes a non-Asian actor playing an Asian character either with or without the exaggerated makeup.
  • Colorblind casting means casting actors in roles irrespective of their race.

Unfortunately, this has historically meant that white actors can play any role, including characters of color. Rarely has colorblind casting resulted in actors of color playing white characters. To correct this inequality, color-conscious casting takes into consideration the historical impact of race when it comes to the exclusion of people of color on stage and screen.

This also means developing more Asian American stories and not just slotting Asian Americans into white-centered narratives. White savior narratives are storylines in which white characters save communities of color from a myriad of social ills and fantastical enemies such as poverty, racism, armies and monsters.

Films such as “The Last Samurai” starring Tom Cruise and “The Great Wall” starring Matt Damon are some examples of white savior narratives. When mixed with whitewashing, we see films like “Ghost in the Shell” in which the lead Japanese heroine is portrayed by Scarlett Johansson.

Dr. Nancy Wang Yuen, sociologist and author of Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism What does “hapa” mean and where did it come from? Is there a better term we should be using? This phrase means part European American, with the implication being that the person is also part Native Hawaiian.

In Hawaii there are other kinds of hapa people. Increasingly, many Native Hawaiian people object not only to the way the word has been changed in its grammatical usage, but also to how it is applied to anyone of mixed Asian and/or Pacific Islander heritage, when it implies Native Hawaiian mixed heritage.

  1. This is not merely a question of trying to hold on to a word — that like many words encountered in the English language — has been adopted, assimilated or appropriated.
  2. This is a question of power.
  3. Native Hawaiians, in addition to all of the other ways that their sovereignty has been abrogated, lost for many years the right to their own language through oppressive English-language education.
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Given this history and given the contemporary social and political reality (and realty — as in real estate) of Hawaiian, the appropriation of this one word has a significance deeper than many Asian Americans are willing to recognize. To have this symbolic word used by Asians, particularly by Japanese Americans, as though it is their own, seems to symbolically mirror the way Native Hawaiian land was first taken by European Americans, and is now owned by European Americans, Japanese and Japanese Americans and other Asian American ethnic groups that numerically and economically dominate Native Hawaiians in their own land.

Dr. Wei Ming Dariotis, professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University, who now uses “Asian Americans of mixed heritage” instead of “Hapa” in ” Hapa: The Word of Power ” Where did the model minority myth come from? What is the harm in describing Asian Americans as smart and quiet and good at math? Asian Americans have long been portrayed as the model minority since William Petersen’s 1966 New York Times Magazine article, “Success Story: Japanese American Style,” and a myriad of subsequent studies of Asian socioeconomic attainment that crystallize this image.

Recent research, however, has been critical of such “acclaims” of Asian Americans as the model minority, contending that the socioeconomic success of Asian Americans has been exaggerated. For ‘substantive’ measures of success, including median individual income, wage returns to education and representation at the managerial level, Asians actually fare worse than whites.

The model minority image also conceals the fact that the poverty rate among Asian Americans is higher than that of whites. Additionally, the success stories of selected Asian groups are often not a result of individual efforts rewarded by a fair system, but rather a “success” of the American immigration policies that have targeted highly skilled professionals since the 1960s.

The model minority image also obscures the racial subordination of Asian Americans. Despite the group’s perceived socioeconomic success, the typical Asian is also often viewed as an outsider or a perpetual foreigner. Studies in history, sociology and psychology have provided strong evidence that almost all segments of the Asian American population, including first and later generations, youth and elderly, English and native-language only speakers and across most ethnic groups, suffer from this stereotypical image.

  • Jun Xu, professor of sociology at Ball State University, and Jennifer C.
  • Lee, associate professor at Indiana University, in ” The Marginalized ‘Model’ Minority: An Empirical Examination of the Racial Triangulation of Asian Americans ” What does Desi mean? Which countries are included? I have always interpreted the term “desi” to describe people who hail from South Asian countries — a cluster that includes India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal and Afghanistan.

In my language of Bengali, “desh” means homeland and “deshi” means someone who hails from that homeland. That said, I think there is also a risk that a word like “desi” might pose — potentially homogenizing the diversity of South Asian cultures into a single, uneven identity that does not equally represent all the nations in this particular region.

— Rohin Guha, executive editor of The Aerogram What are the countries and cultures that the Census Bureau includes in the definition of Asian American and Pacific Islander? The U.S. Census Bureau must adhere to the 1997 Office of Management and Budget standards on race and ethnicity which guide the Census Bureau in classifying written responses to the race question.

Asian — A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand and Vietnam.

Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander — A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. The 1997 OMB standards permit the reporting of more than one race. An individual’s response to the race question is based upon self-identification. —U.S. Census Bureau, ” About Race,” 2018 These answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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What are the characteristics of the Pacific islands?

The World Bank’s Pacific Island member countries have a combined population of about 2.3 million people across a unique and diverse region. The region is made up of hundreds of islands scattered over an area equivalent to 15% of the earth’s surface. There is great diversity across the Pacific Islands region, from Fiji, which is the largest country of the group (excluding Papua New Guinea ) with a population of over 900,000, to Tuvalu and Nauru, with estimated populations of approximately 11,000 each; making them the World Bank Group’s smallest members by population.

  • Iribati is one of the most remote and geographically dispersed countries in the world, consisting of 33 coral atolls spread over 3.5 million square kilometers of ocean – an area larger than India.
  • Pacific Island countries have substantial natural resources, contain extraordinary linguistic and cultural diversity, and are setting the stage to enhance digital connectivity and trade in goods and services with global markets.

However, Pacific countries are physically remote, have small populations spread across many islands, confront many of the worst impacts of climate change, and are some of the world’s most vulnerable countries to natural disasters. The remoteness of many of the Pacific Island countries provided some initial protection from the global COVID-19 pandemic, yet outbreaks eventually occurred across the region.

  1. As the region recovers from the pandemic, many Pacific countries are facing health and economic impacts that are stifling growth and creating new development challenges.
  2. The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, endorsed by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in 2022, is a strong Pacific-led development strategy for the region.

The World Bank is ready to support the region in translating the Strategy into action over the coming years. The strategy will inform the World Bank’s actions in the Pacific, deepening the growing partnership between the World Bank and the Pacific, while leading to direct results for Pacific people.

Sustained development progress will require inclusive community-based approaches as well as long-term cooperation between governments, international development partners and regional organizations. The compounding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing climate and disaster shocks on Pacific Island countries will continue to pose major challenges for the region in the years ahead.

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2022

What are the common characteristics of Pacific Islands?

The Pacific island countries have a number of common characteristics. They have small-scale domestic markets (small size), comprise many islands separated by vast expanses of ocean (isolation), and have limited access to international markets (remoteness).

How are the islands of the Pacific known?

Geopolitics and Oceania grouping – The 2007 book Asia in the Pacific Islands: Replacing the West, by New Zealand Pacific scholar Ron Crocombe, considers the phrase Pacific Islands to politically encompass American Samoa, Australia, the Bonin Islands, the Cook Islands, Easter Island, East Timor, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, the Galápagos Islands, Guam, Hawaii, the Kermadec Islands, Kiribati, Lord Howe Island, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Niue, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, the Torres Strait Islands, Wallis and Futuna, Western New Guinea and the United States Minor Outlying Islands (Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll and Wake Island).

  • Crocombe noted that Easter Island, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, the Galápagos Islands, the Kermadec Islands, the Pitcairn Islands and the Torres Strait Islands currently have no geopolitical connections to Asia, but that they could be of future strategic importance in the Asia-Pacific,
  • Another definition given in the book for the term Pacific Islands is islands served by the Pacific Community, formerly known as the South Pacific Commission.

It is a developmental organization whose members include Australia and the aforementioned islands which are not politically part of other countries. In his 1962 book War in the Pacific: Strategy and Command, American author Louis Morton places the insular landmasses of the Pacific under the label of the “Pacific World”.

He considers it to encompass areas that were involved in the Pacific Theater of World War II, These areas include the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, as well as Australia, the Aleutian Islands, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, the Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan. Since the beginning of the 19th century, Australia and the islands of the Pacific have been grouped by geographers into a region called Oceania.

It is often used as a quasi-continent, with the Pacific Ocean being the defining characteristic. In some countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, China, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Greece, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Spain, Switzerland or Venezuela, Oceania is seen as a proper continent in the sense that it is “one of the parts of the world”.

In his 1879 book Australasia, British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace commented that, “Oceania is the word often used by continental geographers to describe the great world of islands we are now entering upon” and that “Australia forms its central and most important feature.” 19th century definitions encompassed the region as beginning in the Malay Archipelago, and as ending near the Americas.

In the 19th century, many geographers divided up Oceania into mostly racially-based subdivisions; Australasia, Malaysia (encompassing the Malay Archipelago), Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, The 1995 book The Pacific Island States, by Australian author Stephen Henningham, claims that Oceania in its broadest sense “incorporates all the insular areas between the Americas and Asia.” In its broadest possible usage, it could include Australia, the Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian islands, the Japanese and Malay Archipelagos, Taiwan, the Ryukyu and Kuril Islands, the Aleutian Islands and isolated islands off Latin America such as the Juan Fernández Islands.

  • Islands with geological and historical ties to the Asian mainland (such as those in the Malay Archipelago) are rarely included in present definitions of Oceania, nor are non-tropical islands to the north of Hawaii.
  • The 2004 book The Making of Anthropology: The Semiotics of Self and Other in the Western Tradition, by Jacob Pandian and Susan Parman, states that “some exclude from Oceania the nontropical islands such as Ryukyu, the Aleutian islands and Japan, and the islands such as Formosa, Indonesia and the Philippines that are closely linked with mainland Asia.

Others include Indonesia and the Philippines with the heartland of Oceania.” Certain anthropological definitions restrict Oceania even further to only include islands which are culturally within Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Conversely, Encyclopedia Britannica believe that the term Pacific Islands is much more synonymous with Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, and that Oceania, in its broadest sense, embraces all the areas of the Pacific which do not fall within Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

The World Factbook and the United Nations categorize Oceania/the Pacific area as one of the seven major continental divisions of the world, and the two organizations consider it to politically encompass American Samoa, Australia, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Fiji, Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna and the United States Minor Outlying Islands.

Since the 1950s, many (particularly in English -speaking countries) have viewed Australia as a continent-sized landmass, although they are still sometimes viewed as a Pacific Island, or as both a continent and a Pacific Island. Australia is a founding member of the Pacific Islands Forum, which is now recognized as the main governing body for the Oceania region.

It functions as a trade bloc and deals with defense issues, unlike with the Pacific Community, which includes most of the same members. By 2021, the Pacific Islands Forum included all sovereign Pacific Island nations, such as Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji and Tonga, in addition to dependencies of other nations, such as American Samoa, French Polynesia and Guam.

Islands which have been fully integrated into other nations, including Easter Island ( Chile ) and Hawaii ( United States ), have also shown interest in joining. Tony deBrum, Foreign Minister for the Marshall Islands, stated in 2014, “Not only our big brother down south, Australia is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum and Australia is a Pacific island, a big island, but a Pacific island.” Japan and certain nations of the Malay Archipelago (including East Timor, Indonesia and the Philippines) have representation in the Pacific Islands Forum, but none are full members.

The nations of the Malay Archipelago have their own regional governing organization called ASEAN, which includes mainland Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam and Thailand, In July 2019, at the inaugural Indonesian Exposition held in Auckland, Indonesia launched its ‘Pacific Elevation’ program, which would encompass a new era of elevated engagement with the region, with the country also using the event to lay claim that Indonesia is culturally and ethnically linked to the Pacific islands.

The event was attended by dignitaries from Australia, New Zealand and some Pacific island countries.

How are the high islands of the Pacific formed?

Australia and Oceania Encyclopedic entry. Oceania is a region made up of thousands of islands throughout the South Pacific Ocean. Biology, Earth Science, Geology, Geography, Human Geography, Physical Geography Oceania is a region made up of thousands of islands throughout the Central and South Pacific Ocean. It includes Australia, the smallest continent in terms of total land area. Most of Australia and Oceania is under the Pacific, a vast body of water that is larger than all the Earth’s continental landmasses and islands combined.

  1. The name “Oceania” justly establishes the Pacific Ocean as the defining characteristic of the continent.
  2. Oceania is dominated by the nation of Australia.
  3. The other two major landmasses of Oceania are the microcontinent of Zealandia, which includes the country of New Zealand, and the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, made up of the nation of Papua New Guinea.

Oceania also includes three island regions: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia (including the U.S. state of Hawaii). Oceania’s physical geography, environment and resources, and human geography can be considered separately. Oceania can be divided into three island groups: continental islands, high islands, and low islands,

The islands in each group are formed in different ways and are made up of different materials. Continental islands have a variety of physical features, while high and low islands are fairly uniform in their physical geography. Continental Islands Continental islands were once attached to continents before sea level changes and tectonic activity isolated them.

Tectonic activity refers to the movement and collision of different sections, or plates, of the Earth’s crust, Australia, Zealandia, and New Guinea are continental islands. These three regions share some physical features. All three have mountain ranges or highlands—the Great Dividing Range in Australia; the North Island Volcanic Plateau and Southern Alps in New Zealand; and the New Guinea Highlands in Papua New Guinea.

  • These highlands are fold mountains, created as tectonic plates pressed together and pushed land upward.
  • New Zealand and Papua New Guinea also have volcanic features as a result of tectonic activity.
  • Although they share some landscape features, each of these regions has distinct physical features that resulted from different environmental processes.

Australia’s landscape is dominated by the Outback, a region of deserts and semi- arid land. The Outback is a result of the continent’s large inland plains, its location along the dry Tropic of Capricorn, and its proximity to cool, dry, southerly winds.

New Zealand’s glaciers are a result of the islands’ high elevations and proximity to cool, moisture-bearing winds. Papua New Guinea’s highland rain forests are a result of the island’s high elevations, proximity to tropical, moisture-bearing winds, and location right below the warm Equator, High Islands High islands, also called volcanic islands, are created as volcanic eruptions build up land over time.

These eruptions begin under water, when hot magma is cooled and hardened by the ocean. Over time, this activity creates islands with a steep central peak—hence the name “high island.” Ridges and valleys radiate outward from the peak toward the coastline.

  • The island region of Melanesia contains many high islands because it is a major part of the ” Ring of Fire,” a string of volcanoes around the boundary of the Pacific Ocean.
  • This part of the Ring of Fire is on the boundary of the Pacific plate and the Australian plate.
  • This is a convergent plate boundary, where the two plates move toward each other.

Important volcanic mountains in Melanesia include Mount Tomanivi, Fiji; Mount Lamington, Papua New Guinea; and Mount Yasur, Vanuatu. Low Islands Low islands are also called coral islands. They are made of the skeletons and living bodies of small marine animals called corals.

  1. Sometimes, coral islands barely reach above sea level—hence the name “low island.” Low islands often take the shape of an irregular ring of very small islands, called an atoll, surrounding a lagoon,
  2. An atoll forms when a coral reef builds up around a volcanic island, then the volcanic island erodes away, leaving a lagoon.

Atolls are defined as one island even though they are made up of multiple communities of coral. The island regions of Micronesia and Polynesia are dominated by low islands. The Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, for example, is composed of 97 islands and islets that surround one of the largest lagoons in the world, with an area of 2,173 square kilometers (839 square miles).

  1. The nation of Kiribati is composed of 32 atolls and one solitary island dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometers (1.35 million square miles) of the Pacific Ocean.
  2. Island Flora and Fauna The evolution of flora and fauna across the islands of Australia and Oceania is unique,
  3. Many plants and animals reached the islands from southern Asia during the last glacial period, when sea levels were low enough to allow for travel.

After sea levels rose, species adapted to the environment of each island or community of islands, producing multiple species that evolved from a common ancestor, Due to its isolation from the rest of the world, Australia and Oceania has an incredibly high number of endemic species, or species that are found nowhere else on Earth.

Plants traveled between islands by riding wind or ocean currents, Birds carried the seeds of fruits and plants and spread them between islands with their droppings. Ferns, mosses, and some flowering plants rely on spores or seeds that can remain airborne for long distances. Coconut palms and mangroves, common throughout Australia and Oceania, produce seeds that can float on salty water for weeks at a time.

Important flowering plants native to Australia and Oceania include the jacaranda, hibiscus, pohutukawa, and kowhai. Other indigenous trees include the breadfruit, eucalyptus, and banyan. Birds are very common in Australia and Oceania because they are one of the few animals mobile enough to move from island to island.

  • There are more than 110 endemic bird species in Australia and Oceania, including many seabirds.
  • Many flightless birds, such as emus, kiwis, cassowaries, wekas, and takahes, are native to Australia, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand.
  • The Pacific Islands have more than 25 species of birds of paradise, which exhibit colorful plumage.Lizards and bats make up the majority of Australia and Oceania’s native land animals.

Lizard species include the goanna, skink, and bearded dragon. Australia and Oceania has more than a hundred different species of fruit bats. The few native land animals in Australia and Oceania are unusual. Australia and Oceania is the only place in the world that is home to monotremes —mammals that lay eggs.

All monotremes are native to Australia and Papua New Guinea. There are only five living species: the duckbill platypus and four species of echidna. Many of the most familiar animals native to Australia and Oceania are marsupials, including the koala, kangaroo, and wallaby. Marsupials are mammals that carry their newborn young in a pouch.

Almost 70 percent of the marsupials on Earth are native to Oceania. (The rest are native to the Americas.) In Australia and Oceania, marsupials did not face threats or competition from large predators such as lions, tigers, or bears. The red kangaroo, the world’s largest marsupial, can grow up to 2 meters (6 feet) tall, and weigh as much as 100 kilograms (220 pounds).

In the Americas, marsupials such as possums are much smaller. Marine Flora and Fauna The marine environment is an important and influential physical region in Australia and Oceania. The region is composed of three marine realms : Temperate Australasia, Central Indo-Pacific, and Eastern Indo-Pacific. Marine realms are large ocean regions where animal and plant life are similar because of shared environmental and evolutionary factors.

The Temperate Australasia realm includes the seas surrounding the southern half of Australia and the islands of New Zealand. This realm is one of the world’s richest areas for seabirds. Its cold, nutrient -rich waters support a diversity of plants and fish that seabirds feed on.

These seabirds include different species of albatross, petrel, and shearwater, as well as the Australasian gannet and rockhopper penguin. The Central Indo-Pacific realm includes the seas surrounding the northern half of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.

This marine realm has the greatest diversity of tropical coral in the world and includes the world’s two largest coral formations: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the New Caledonia Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site off the coast of northeast Australia, is 344,400 square kilometers (133,000 square miles).

  1. The Great Barrier Reef and the New Caledonia Barrier Reef are underwater hotspots for biodiversity,
  2. The Great Barrier Reef is home to 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises; six species of sea turtles; 215 species of birds; and more than 1,500 species of fish.
  3. The New Caledonia Barrier Reef is home to 600 species of sponges, 5,500 species of mollusks, 5,000 species of crustaceans, and at least 1,000 species of fish.

The Eastern Indo-Pacific realm surrounds the tropical islands of the central Pacific Ocean, extending from the Marshall Islands through central and southeastern Polynesia. Like the Central Indo-Pacific realm, this realm is also known for its tropical coral formations.

  • A variety of whale, tortoise, and fish species also inhabit this realm.
  • Fast Fact Population Density 8 people per square kilometer Fast Fact Highest Elevation Mount Kosciuszko, Australia (2,228 meters/7,310 feet) Fast Fact Most Renewable Electricity Produced New Zealand (73%; hydropower, geothermal, wind, biomass) Fast Fact Largest Urban Area Sydney, Australia (4 million people) Fast Fact Largest Watershed Murray-Darling river system (1 million square kilometers/409,835 square miles) The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit.

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