Thursday, 15 December 2016

New marine life found in deep sea vents

By Helen Briggs BBC News

Six new animal species have been identified at deep-sea vents beneath the Indian Ocean.

The remote area is home to life not seen elsewhere in the world's oceans, yet has been earmarked for future mineral exploration.

Hydrothermal vents form at locations where seawater meets magma. They are surrounded by a large number of organisms that are new to science.

The latest finds include worms, snails and a crab.

UK researchers explored an area of the Southwest Indian Ridge, which bisects the ocean between Africa and Antarctica, in 2011.

Scientists at Southampton University revealed they had found many new creatures using a remote-operated underwater robot.

Species spotted at deep-sea vent

They have now analysed samples from the site, known as Longqi, or "Dragon's Breath", and compared them with known species based on the animals' genetic make-up.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, shows six animals new to science.
The six new species
a "Hoff" crab
a "giant peltospirid" snail
a whelk-like snail
a limpet
a scaleworm
a polychaete worm 

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