By: Susan Harris - Staff Writer
Published: Apr 22, 2021

New Found Species

New Found Species. There is so much bad going on with species going extinct, we finally found new ones being discovered. It appears that marine scientists have discovered hundreds of new animal life on reefs in Australian waters.

More On New Found Species.

The creatures were found during expeditions run by the Australian chapter of CReefs, a global census of coral reefs that is one of several projects of the Census of Marine Life, an international effort to catalog all life in the oceans.

New Found Species

“People have been working at these places for a long time and still there are literally hundreds and hundreds of new species that no one has ever collected or described,” said Julian Caley, a scientist from the Australian Institute of Marine Science who is helping to lead the research.

“So in that sense, it’s very significant in that if we don’t understand what biodiversity is out there, we don’t have much of a chance of protecting it,” he said.

Scientists at several Australian museums have begun the complex process of working with the samples for genetic barcoding and taxonomy, the formal system of naming living things. That work is expected to take years, Caley said.

Among the creatures researchers found were about 130 soft corals — also known as octocorals, for the eight tentacles that fringe each polyp — that have never been described in scientific literature, and scores of similarly undescribed crustaceans, including tiny shrimp-like animals with claws longer than their bodies.

The Australian researchers conducted three expeditions, one each in the waters off the Great Barrier Reef’s Lizard and Heron islands, and one in the Ningaloo Reef, on Australia’s northwest coast. Thousands of samples were collected during the three-week research trips, which took place between April and September.


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