UK Researchers have used a remotely operated vehicle in their search for new species in the deep sea. The scientists from the Natural History Museum say they’ve discovered more than 30 potentially new species living on the ocean floor.
In the past, photographs were used to study these creatures:
With the deep sea vehicle, they collected specimens from certain plains in the central Pacific.
Photograph: Courtesy of DeepCCZ expedition/NOAAAccording to sciencedirect.com, the term ‘abyssal plain’ refers to a flat region of the ocean floor. This plain represents the deepest and flat part of the ocean floor and lies between 4 000 and 6 500 metres deep.
Between Hawaii and Mexico
The remotely operated vehicles were used on the plains of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone. This zone is located between Hawaii and Mexico and spans an area of over 4 million square kilometres.
Specimens and DNA data are crucial:
“This research is important not only due to the number of potentially new species discovered. These specimens have previously only been studied from seabed images,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Guadalupe Bribiesca-Contreras.
She told The Guardian: “Without the specimens and the DNA data they hold, we cannot properly identify the animals and understand how many different species there are.”
Another researcher, Dr Adrian Glover: “We know that millimetre-sized animals called macrofauna are extremely biodiverse in the abyss. We’ve never really had much information on the larger animals we call megafauna. ” This is due to so few samples collected in the past.
Dr Glover also noted, “This study is the first to suggest that diversity may be very high in these groups as well.”
The researchers published their findings in the journal Zookeys.