Scientists Discover 100 Potential New Deep-Sea Species, Including Mystery Creature

Scientists Discover 100 Potential New Deep-Sea Species, Including Mystery Creature – In a groundbreaking expedition to the Bounty Trough, off the coast of New Zealand, scientists from the Ocean Census have discovered approximately 100 potential new deep-sea species, including a mysterious creature that has yet to be identified. This expedition, which took place in February, marks a significant milestone in the exploration and understanding of the Earth’s oceans, particularly in the little-explored Bounty Trough area. The team, which included researchers from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and the Queensland Museum Network, collected nearly 1,800 samples from depths as far down as 3 miles (4,800 meters). These samples include species of fish, squid, mollusks, and coral that are believed to be new to science.

Scientists Discover 100 Potential New Deep-Sea Species, Including Mystery Creature
Scientists Discover 100 Potential New Deep-Sea Species, Including Mystery Creature

The discovery of these potential new species is part of a broader mission by the Ocean Census alliance, launched in April 2023, aiming to identify 100,000 unknown species in the next decade. The Bounty Trough, a 500-mile (800-kilometer) long area off the east coast of New Zealand, has been described as a region with a “paucity of data points,” indicating a significant gap in our understanding of the marine life in this area.

One of the most intriguing finds from the expedition was a creature that initially appeared to be a type of sea star or sea anemone. However, the team has been unable to describe it accurately, leading to speculation that it could be a new species. Dr. Michela Mitchell, a taxonomist at the Queensland Museum Network, suggested that the creature could be a type of deep-sea coral known as octocoral. If this turns out to be the case, it would represent a significant discovery for the deep sea, providing a clearer picture of the planet’s unique biodiversity.

Another notable find was a new species of fish known as an eelpout, which was instantly recognized as being different from other known species. Dr. Daniel Moore, the expedition science manager of Ocean Census, highlighted the rarity of finding new vertebrates, noting that while there are hundreds of thousands of invertebrates in the sea that we still do not know, vertebrates are thought to be more well-documented. However, the reality is that much about them remains unknown.

To collect the samples, the research vessel Tangaroa used a variety of sleds and devices, including a traditional beam trawl, a heavy-duty seamount sled for rocky surfaces, a device that sampled the water just above the seafloor, and a towed underwater camera. This multifaceted approach allowed the team to gather a wide range of samples from different environments within the Bounty Trough.

The next steps for the team will involve sorting and describing the deep-sea finds to confirm whether they are indeed newfound species. This process will take the next three weeks and will be crucial in determining the significance of the discoveries made during the expedition.

The discovery of these potential new species underscores the vast and largely unexplored biodiversity of the Earth’s oceans. Of the estimated 2.2 million species believed to exist in the oceans, only 240,000 have been described by scientists. This expedition represents a significant step forward in filling in the gaps in our knowledge of the marine world, highlighting the importance of continued exploration and research in this field.

Latest news from around the world: Explosion at China Restaurant Near Beijing Causes Damage