Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Researchers discover new sea species in Papua New Guinea

A team of researchers have discovered what they describe as a “treasure trove” of new sea species in the Pacific Ocean during an expedition in Papua New Guinea. Among the discoveries were a new species of sea slug and amphipods.

The team was led by Nova South-eastern University Professor Jim Thomas; the expedition was held over a three week period. Researchers from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, the California Academy of Sciences and the National Botanical Gardens of Ireland were also involved in the expedition.

Commenting in a press release, Professor John Thomas said:

“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.”

“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.”

As well as discovering new species of sea slugs, and amphipods, the international research team also found a new species of feather stars.

Professor Thomas said:

“This was an astonishing discovery.” “We returned to our labs and began to formally assess our collections. We had no idea this lagoon’s bounty was so profound.”

The team’s findings will be published in peer-reviews journals and will also be shared with villagers in Papua New Guinea.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/344845#ixzz2MfSNAtsF

Source: Digital Journal

Image courtesy of Anderson Smith2010 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)