Hundreds of New Marine Species Discovered in Deep Canyon off New Zealand Coast

Hundreds of New Marine Species Discovered in Deep Canyon off New Zealand Coast

Source: Pexels

Marine biologists have discovered over 100 species of marine creatures new to science in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of New Zealand. According to the Ocean Census project, a team from the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) of New Zealand collected about 1,800 samples of living organisms at depths of up to 4,800 meters during an expedition to the Bounty Trough off the east coast of the South Island.

Analysis of the collected samples is still ongoing, but scientists are confident that they have discovered new species of mollusks, fish, shrimp, and corals. "The Ocean Census expedition team spent three weeks in February exploring the Bounty Trough, an 800-kilometer-long zone off the coast of New Zealand that has rarely been studied," the statement said.

One find that particularly attracted the attention of scientists was a star-shaped creature. Biologists suggested that it could be a starfish or a representative of deep-sea corals. However, according to Australian researcher Michaela Mitchell, it could also be a completely new group, previously unknown to science. "If so," she believes, "it will open up a clearer picture of the planet's unique biodiversity for the whole world."

The Ocean Census scientific alliance was founded a year ago. Its main goal is to try to identify 100,000 new species living in the seas and oceans in the next 10 years. According to researchers, currently, only about 240,000 of such species out of 2.2 million have been described by science.

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