Marine biodiversity in Nigeria – the known and the unknown
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Nigeria has a coastline of 853 km, a maritime area of 46,500 km2 and an exclusive economic zone of 210,900 km2. The Nigerian coastal area is hot and humid, with an annual temperature range between 26 and 34oC, and the highest temperatures occurring during the dry season (November to March). The total annual rainfall averages between 350 and 600 centimeters. More than 80 percent of the rain falls during the rainy season (April to October) when tropical storm conditions are frequent. Rainfall is usually heavy and occasionally lasts for over 24 hours. Rainfall of about 50mm/hour between July and August are common and results in flash floods. The predominant wind is the rain bearing southwest trade wind from the Atlantic Ocean. During the short dry period, the dust laden north east dry wind from the Sahara desert reaches the coastal areas, producing hazy conditions (Ibe et al. 1985). The Nigerian intertidal mangrove swamps cover an area of about 5,590 square kilometres (Allen 1965). The s.....