Scientists on a mission to explore Costa Rica's waters have made incredible scientific discoveries: they have identified four new species of deep-sea corals and at least eight other marine creatures.
A group of scientists, including Dr. Erik Cordes, a professor of biology at Temple University, Pennsylvania, studied seamounts – undersea mountains – near Isla del Coco aboard the Falkor research vessel. The three-week expedition aimed to examine the "important corridor" provided by seamounts, the Schmidt Ocean Institute said in a recent press release.
"By examining these systems at all scales of biological size, the team focused on the relationships between species, from microbes to wildlife such as fish and coral," said the research foundation. marine nonprofit, adding that it was the first time that seven seamounts were around this location. were interviewed.
FISH OF THE DEEP SEA OF BIZARRE LIVING IN THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA WITH BIOLOGISTS «VIRTUALLY NO OXYGEN»
With remotely operated vehicles equipped with cameras, explorers were able to capture and collect samples of their 19 deep dives. During their trip, scientists spotted various colored corals, sea sponges, brittle stars, oysters, among other marine creatures.
"Every dive continues to amaze us," Cordes said in an online statement. "We have discovered stony coral species that build reefs over 800 meters [2,624 feet] depth on two different seamounts. The records closest to this species come from the deep waters around the Galapagos Islands. The deep sea is the largest habitat on Earth. Understanding how this habitat works will help us understand how the planet works as a whole. "
During their adventure, scientists believe they have found at least five new animals – a parent of the Biremis worm, three new species of Myzostome worms, three new species of Osedax and Xenoturbella – although they can find others, waiting for the results of DNA tests.
"The genus Biremis was known only to contain a single species – Biremis blandi, a polychaete marine worm discovered in the Bahamas in 1971. However, during this recent expedition to Costa Rica, another Biremis was discovered. was found in the Pacific The researchers immediately thought it was a new species and DNA sequencing quickly proved it was true, "said a Schmidt Ocean spokesman Fox News Institute in a statement sent by email Wednesday, pointing out that they were commonly referred to as "spaghetti worms".
Two new types of Myzostome worms have also been found. The organization says that these flatworms are "parasitic for echinoderms".
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Osedax, also known as "boneworm worms", received its nickname by nibbling the bones of whale carcasses.
"Osedax has no mouth or teeth, it secretes acid to penetrate into the bone." As Osedax does not have any stomach either, it relies on a symbiotic relationship with bacteria that facilitate protein and lipid digestion Osedax has unusual root-like structures that absorb nutrients, as well as colorful, feathery feathers that act as gills, "according to the Schmidt Ocean Institute.
Another type of Xenoturbella, a kind of "simple animal with bilateral symmetry", has also been spotted.
"It contains a small number of species resembling marine benthic worms." Classifying Xenoturbellas precisely in the exact branch of biology is a disconcerting problem for researchers since its first discovery in 1915, "says the Schmidt Ocean Institute.
Schmidt Ocean Institute co-founder Wendy Schmidt hopes the research will support ongoing conservation efforts in Costa Rica.
MYSTERIOUS SEA CREATURE TIRES COMPARISONS & # 39; ALIEN & # 39; WITH HIS NEEDLE TEETH, A PIQUE SKIN
"One of the most important things we can do now is to understand how these communities work, so if changes happen in the future, we will be able to measure the human impact," she said. adding that the group intends to use its research to advise those considered as "important habitats" and should be prohibited from fishing or any other disruptive activity.
Schmidt believes that the evidence of these "amazing" species will encourage people to fight harder to protect the world's oceans, including "in the deepest areas that do not always attract the attention they deserve".
Even deep within the surface of the ocean – more precisely at more than 3 km – in the trench of central America, Schmidt said that there was evidence of a "rainy day". human impact (waste).
"Deep waters are already under threat, including fishing and energy industries moving into deeper waters, and the continuing risk of climate change." Seamount habitats harbor rare organisms particularly vulnerable and in need of protection, "said the Schmidt Ocean Institute.
Eben Schwartz, head of the California Coastal Commission's Marine Debris Program, had already told Fox News at least "8 million metric tons [of trash] enter the world's oceans every year ".