Over 100 New Species Discovered Along Deep-Sea Mountain Range

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Along the Deep-Sea Mountain Range, more than 100 new species have been found.

Scientists have found more than 100 species that lived in an underwater mountain chain near Chile. This is an amazing find.

While exploring space still interests us, scientists are also working hard to figure out what’s going on in the oceans around the Earth.

A recent trip led by Dr. Javier Sellanes from the Universidad Católica del Norte and funded by the Schmidt Ocean Institute explored the seamounts off the coast of Chile and found a lot of different kinds of life.

A squat lobster discovered as part of the findings. Credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute

The team found many different kinds of marine life, including corals, glass sponges, sea urchins, amphipods, and lobsters. Many of these are thought to be brand-new to science.

The Nazca and Salas y Gómez Ridge was the main target of their exploration. This is a long underwater mountain chain that goes from off the coast of Chile to Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. It covers over 2,900 kilometers and has more than 200 seamounts.

Scientists collected useful information while navigating both inside and outside of Chile’s borders to help create an international high-seas marine protected area.

A Chaunax, a genus of bony fish in the sea toad family Chaunacidae, is seen at a depth of 1,388 meters (4,553 feet) on a seamount inside the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park. Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute

They also did surveys in two of Chile’s marine protected areas, the Juan Fernandez and Nazca-Desventuradas marine parks, which helped with conservation efforts even more.

Researchers used cutting-edge technology, such as underwater robots that can go as deep as 4,500 meters, to collect data from ten seamounts. This helped Chile’s efforts to protect the ocean.

Their research showed that each seamount had its own ecosystem, with a range of habitats, such as deep-sea coral reefs and sponge gardens, though some were marked as potentially fragile.

A rarely-seen whiplash squid (Mastigoteuthis) documented at 1,105 meters (3,625 feet) depth. Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute

Scientists are looking at the genetic information from the animals right now to decide if they are truly new species.

Dr. Sellanes was amazed by how many new things they found and said, “We far exceeded our hopes on this expedition.” You always expect to find new species in these faraway, little-known places, but the sheer number of them we found, especially in groups like sponges, is mind-boggling.

According to Dr. Sellanes, these results show that marine protected areas are very good at protecting fragile marine ecosystems. This shows how important conservation efforts are.

Oblong Dermechinus urchins documented at a depth of 516 meters (1,692 feet). Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute

The Executive Director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, Dr. Jyotika Virmani, praised the team’s work and said that the samples they took could help us learn more about this biodiversity hotspot.

It might take a while to fully identify these new species, but the things that were found on this trip give us a tantalizing look into the deep sea’s hidden wonders.


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