Skip to comments.Scientists discover rare marine species
Posted on 10/16/2007 7:51:05 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
MANILA, Philippines - Scientists exploring a deep ocean basin in search of species isolated for millions of years found marine life believed to be previously undiscovered, including a tentacled orange worm and an unusual black jellyfish.
Project leader Dr. Larry Madin said Tuesday that U.S. and Philippine scientists collected about 100 different specimens in a search in the Celebes Sea south of the Philippines.
Madin, of the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said the sea is at the heart of the "coral triangle" bordered by the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia a region recognized by scientists as having a high degree of biological diversity.
The deepest part of the Celebes Sea is 16,500 feet. The team was able to explore to a depth of about 9,100 feet using a remotely operated camera.
"This is probably the center where many of the species evolved and spread to other parts of the ocean, so it's going back to the source in many ways," Madin told a group of journalists, government officials, students and U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney and her staff.
The project involved the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and National Geographic Magazine in cooperation with the Philippine government, which also provided the exploration ship.
The expedition was made up of more than two dozen scientists and a group from National Geographic, including Emory Kristof, the underwater photographer who was part of the team that found the wreckage of the Titanic in 1985.
The group returned to Manila on Tuesday after spending about two weeks in the Celebes Sea off Tawi-Tawi, the Philippines southernmost provincial archipelago nearly 700 miles south of Manila.
Madin said the specimens they collected included several possibly newly discovered species. One was a sea cucumber that is nearly transparent which could swim by bending its elongated body. Another was a black jellyfish found near the sea floor.
The most striking creature found was a spiny orange-colored worm that had 10 tentacles like a squid, Madin said. "We don't know what it is ... it might be something new," he said.
He said it would take "a few more weeks" of research to determine whether the species are newly discovered. He expects to release a report by early next month.
Madin said the Celebes Sea, being surrounded by islands and shallow reefs, is partially isolated now and may have been more isolated millions of years ago, leading scientists to believe that "there may be groups of organisms that have been contained and kept within" the basin since then.
"That makes it an interesting place to go and look to see what we might find," he said.
In this photo released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the National Geographic Society-led Inner Space Speciation Project (ISSP) shows a portrait of a juvenile boxfish 1 centimeter-long, collected by a diver in the surface waters off Celebes Sea in southern Philippines as shown during a briefing Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2007 aboard the Philippine research vessel BRP Prisbitero off Manila Bay in Manila, Philippines. A joint team of Filipino and American scientists that explored the Celebes Sea in southern Philippines early this month, announced the marine-life discoveries following their return from their voyage Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ocean Geographic Magazine through WHOI/ISSP, Michael Aw, HO)
This handout photo made available in Manila by the University of Alaska shows a deep sea jellyfish found by a US-Philippines underwater expedition in the Celebes Sea. Researchers said a swimming sea cucumber, a Nemo-like orange fish and a worm with tentacles sprouting from its head are among dozens of possible new species found during the survey of the Celebes Sea.(AFP/HO/Russ Hapcroft)
In this photo released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the National Geographic Society-led Inner Space Speciation Project (ISSP) shows a sample of zooplankton collected with a Tucker Trawl with a 10mm opening wherein one can find jellyfish, a lanternfish, a snipe eel, two orange shrimp, a pyrosome (which is bioluminescent) as shown at a briefing Tuesday Oct. 16, 2007 aboard the Philippine research vessel BRP Prisbitero off Manila Bay in Manila, Philippines. A joint team of Filipino and American scientists that explored the Celebes Sea in southern Philippines early this month, announced the marine-life discoveries following their return from their voyage Tuesday. (AP Photo/WHOI/ISSP, Larry Madin HO)
Beautiful ocean creatures.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.