A newly discovered species of coral reef fish has been named after President Barack Obama. This was announced by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bishop Museum, and the Association for Marine Exploration who jointly published a description of the coral fish.

Tosanoides obama is a coral reef fish species that was discovered during a NOAA research expedition to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in June.

The description of the new fish species was published in ZooKeys, and mentioned that the small fish of pink and yellow color is a basslet, which is a group of colorful reef fishes with good demand in the marine aquarium fish trade.

The new species is noted for the male members' active spot on the dorsal fin, with a bluish tinge at the edge and reddish yellow stripes at the center. Another important fact is that the Tosanoides obama can only be found within Papahānaumokuākea.

According to NOAA scientist Randall Kosaki and one of the coauthors, the research had documented 100 percent fish endemism on the deep reefs where the new species was located.

Obama's Conservation Efforts Hailed

"We named this fish after President Obama to recognize his efforts to protect and preserve the natural environment, including the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea," said Richard Pyle, Bishop Museum scientist and lead author of the study.

President Obama's gesture of accepting the request of lawmaker Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in expanding the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument has been appreciated by the marine community.

Thanks to the action, the area is enjoying 582,578 square miles as the world's largest marine protected area.

Pyle said the expansion has added more protection to one of the "last great wilderness areas on Earth."

Obama was presented with a picture of the fish by leading undersea explorer Sylvia Earle when he visited the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge on Sept. 1. The event will be featured in the National Geographic film Sea of Hope: America's Underwater Treasures due for release on Jan. 15, 2017.

Coral Reef Research

Coral reefs located up to 500 feet deep below the surface are some of the least researched parts of marine ecosystems. Also called the “twilight zone,” these coral ecosystems require special equipment and diving systems such as closed-circuit rebreathers in order to be explored.

Scientists doing coral reef research have been using mixed-gas diving systems to study the unexplored reefs of Hawaii and the insular Pacific for many years.

"These deep coral reefs are home to an incredible diversity of fishes, corals, and other marine invertebrates," noted Brian Greene, coauthor of the paper and an experienced deep diver.

According to Greene, more species are waiting to be discovered in the area.

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