New marine species discovered in Pacific Ocean
When Jim Thomas and his global team of researchers returned to the Madang Lagoon in Papua New Guinea, they discovered a treasure trove of new species unknown to science. This is especially relevant as the research team consisted of scientists who had conducted a previous survey in the 1990s.
"In the Madang Lagoon, we went a half mile out off the leading edge of the active Australian Plate and were in 6,000 meters of water," said Thomas, Ph.D., a researcher at Nova Southeastern University's National Coral Reef Institute in Hollywood, Fla. "It was once believed there were no reefs on the north coast of Papua New Guinea since there were no shallow bays and lagoons typical of most coral reef environments. But there was lots of biodiversity to be found."
Thomas and his team discovered new species of sea slugs (nudibranchs), feather stars (crinoids) and amphipods (genus Leucothoe). There was more variety of these indicator species found than there is in the entire length of Australia's 1,600-mile Great Barrier Reef.
"This was an astonishing discovery," Thomas said. "We returned to our labs and began to formally assess our collections. We had no idea this lagoon's bounty was so profound."
The international team Thomas led included researchers from and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, the California Academy of Sciences and the National Botanical Gardens of Ireland. Their 3-week expedition ended late last year. While in Madang, they joined a large French contingent of scientists from the Paris Museum of Natural History.
The NSU-led research team's findings will be shared with the local villagers, as well as regional and federal governments. It will also be published in peer-reviewed journals.
The Madang Lagoon faces many environmental threats by land-based pollution from a recently opened tuna cannery whose outfall is very close to the lagoon's reefs.
"Hopefully, our discoveries will strongly encourage governing bodies to recognize the environmental importance of the lagoon and work to stop the pollution," Thomas said.
Source: Nova Southeastern University
- New Pacific Species Include Shrimp in a Spongefrom Live ScienceFri, 1 Mar 2013, 18:30:33 EST
- New marine species discovered in Pacific Oceanfrom Science DailyThu, 28 Feb 2013, 20:30:52 EST
- New marine species discovered in Pacific Oceanfrom Science BlogThu, 28 Feb 2013, 19:30:16 EST
- New marine species discovered in Pacific Oceanfrom PhysorgThu, 28 Feb 2013, 17:30:17 EST
- New Marine Species Discovered in Pacific Oceanfrom Newswise - ScinewsThu, 28 Feb 2013, 17:10:05 EST
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- How a plant beckons the bacteria that will do it harm
- Small business owners not always worried about being treated fairly, researcher finds
- Astronomical forensics uncover planetary disks in NASA's Hubble archive
- Microscopic organism plays a big role in ocean carbon cycling, Scripps scientists discover
- New ultrasound device may add in detecting risk for heart attack, stroke
- Criticism of violent video games has decreased as technology has improved, gamers age
- Hummingbirds' 22-million-year-old history of remarkable change is far from complete
- Research clarifies health costs of air pollution from agriculture
- Ancient 'spider' images reveal eye-opening secrets
- New research finds 'geologic clock' that helps determine moon's age