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Hundreds of New Aquatic Species Found

12 October 2008 No Comment

Posted by Sherwin

According to the National Geographic News, scientists have found 274 new species of corals, starfish, sponges, shrimps, and crabs 2 kilometers beneath the surface of the ocean near Australia.

“We know very little about the deep sea,” said lead scientist Nic Bax. “Finding out how much live coral is down there, and how large those communities are, is very exciting,” he added.

Using state of the art cameras, scientists shot 8,000 pictures and more than 100 hours of video footage of the seafloor.

They also discovered 145 undersea canyons and 80 new seamounts, or underwater mountains.

“We probably know more about the surface of the moon than we do about some of the vast reaches of our oceans,” said Peter Garrett, Australia’s minister for the environment, heritage and the arts.

With only 87 percent of Australian waters unmapped, it’s not surprising that huge numbers of new species are being discovered, said Justin Marshall, a marine scientist at the University of Queensland.

This latest discovery “shows us there’s so much out there that we don’t know” Marshall stressed. “We may be destroying habitat before we even know what’s there, so we need to describe it before it’s gone.”

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