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Researchers Identify Over 100 New Species in a Deep-Sea Zone near Bermuda

We might have some great news for biodiversity. While studying the Atlantic Ocean, a team of researchers has discovered a completely new spot close to the Bermuda coast. Since this area has been unknown until now, researchers have discovered a series of surprises related to it. It turns out it is actually hosting over 100 new species of marine creatures.

There Is a Deep Zone Close to the Bermuda Coast Full of New Creatures

The discovery occurred while researchers were on a mission called Nekton Mission I. Their main purpose was to study the ocean conditions in the northwest of the Atlantic, but also in the Sargasso Sea and around Bermuda. They performed a deep-sea research by using different kinds of submarines and advanced equipment.

This flourishing area lies only a few miles away from the Bermuda coast and measures up to 984 feet. However, what is truly remarkable about it is its biodiversity. Researchers spotted over 100 new species they haven’t seen anywhere else. In the dark context of threatened marine life, this discovery is extremely encouraging.

The Biodiversity of the Area Is Astounding

Researchers called this Bermuda area the Rariphotic Zone, which we can roughly translate as the rare light zone. The amazing biodiversity is interesting to see since this area lies beneath 3,000 meters in depth. In fact, it’s the fourth zone of its kind that hosts species which don’t live anywhere else. The other three are the Bathyal, Mesophotic, and Altiphotic Zone.

If you’re curious what kind of creatures live at such depths, you should know there is a lot more than you would expect. There are brightly-colored fish, sea urchins, dark corals, eels, isopods, but also plenty of new species of algae. By taking a look at the latter, researchers could find some correlations between them and those who live in the Indo-Pacific.

Nekton Mission I actually started in 2016, so researchers had plenty of time to study both the water properties and the animals that populated it. During these two years, researchers had time to look at over 40,000 creatures and test 15,000 liters of water. Many of the species that seemed new lived only 15 miles from the Bermuda coast, showing that deep-sea creatures aren’t that far away from land.

Fish of different data-lazy-sizes swimming at huge depths, bermuda

The Huge Number of New Species Took Scientists by Surprise

Since Bermuda has been one of the main objects of study among scientists, the astounding biodiversity took them by surprise. At first, they weren’t too sure of the actual origin of these species but, thanks to another team of researchers from a different institute, they could confirm the creatures truly belong to some new species.

The fact that we actually know so little of life at huge depths is a bit worrying. The scientific director of the exploration mission, Alex Rogers, confirms it.

“If life in the shallower regions of the deep sea is so poorly documented it undermines confidence in our existing understanding of how the patterns of life change with depth.”

If we don’t know what creatures live in the depths, we won’t be able to protect them. This Bermuda mission didn’t only bring to light so many unknown species. It also showed us there’s a lot we don’t know about our oceans and a lot to do if we want to protect every living creature.

Image sources: 1, 2.

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William E. Eubanks
 

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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