Islands 101: Islands around the World


Welcome back to Seacology's "Islands 101" blog series! Knowing that not everyone eats, sleeps, and breathes islands, we've put together some basic information to help bring you up to speed on the ins and outs of island conservation. If you haven't already, check out our first and second "Islands 101" posts, which covered island geography, ecosystems, ocean zones, and species.                                                                                                                   

Islands are found in all regions of the globe and off every continent. However, some areas are more island-filled than others, and one of these is the Pacific Ocean. You've probably heard of Polynesia, but do you know where it is? What about Melanesia? Seacology has projects throughout the Pacific--from Chuuk to Java, Fiji to Tuvalu. Read on to learn where in the world these islands are found. 


Polynesia - Greek for "many islands," Polynesia is a cluster of over 1,000 islands sandwiched between Australia and South America. The islands share similar cultures, languages, and histories, but are politically disparate. The most well-known of its islands are Hawaii, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Easter Island.

Micronesia - Smaller than Polynesia, Micronesia consists of thousands of tiny islands scattered southeast of the Philippines. Nations in Micronesia include the Marshall Islands, Guam, the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia (which consists of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap).

Melanesia - Like Polynesia and Micronesia, Melanesia was named and demarcated by European explorers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Directly above Australia, Melanesia, or "black islands" in Greek, includes Fiji, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

Southeast Asia - The waters south of mainland Asia contain many islands larger than those found in the "nesias" to the east. The islands are divided into several archipelago states, including:

The Philippines - Once a Spanish colony, the Philippines is now an independent nation just south of China. It consists of thousands of small islands.

Indonesia - Composed of several large islands, Indonesia lies between Australia and India. Indonesia's main islands include Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, the western half of New Guinea (the eastern half is the independent state Papua New Guinea), and southern Borneo.

Malaysia - Just north of Indonesia, Malaysia includes the northern portion of the island of Borneo, and the southern half of the Malay Peninsula.


A complete list of all the Pacific islands would make a very long blog post! Seacology has projects on islands throughout the region, including many of the locations mentioned above.  To see a full list of all our projects, visit

Images from Wikimedia Commons.



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This page contains a single entry by Carynne McIver published on April 22, 2010 3:12 PM.

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