Amazing new creatures found off the coast of South America

Researchers exploring the Salas y Gómez ridge off Chile have found 50 species probably new to science.

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Exploring the Wonders of the Salas y Gómez Underwater Mountain Range

A recent expedition exploring the Salas y Gómez underwater mountain range off the coast of South America has yielded an astounding discovery. Scientists working on the Falkor Too, a research vessel operated by the California-based Schmidt Ocean Institute, have identified more than 160 species that have never been seen in the region before.

Erin Easton, the chief scientist on the 40-day research voyage, expressed her amazement at the findings, stating, “We’re still astounded by what we observed.” The team collected data on 10 peaks along the 2,900km range of 110 seamounts, and each one revealed unique communities of marine life.

A Diverse Ecosystem Thriving in the Depths

Among the species spotted were the bright red sea toads, deep-sea dragon fish, and the enigmatic squat lobsters. Researchers believe that at least 50 of these species are likely to be new to science, highlighting the incredible biodiversity hidden within these underwater mountain ranges.

Underwater mountain ranges, also known as seamounts, are true oases of life, where diverse communities of organisms come together. Some creatures take advantage of the unique currents and elevation provided by the peaks, while others find refuge in the intricate structures and nooks and crannies of the rocky slopes.

As these seamounts are located in an area with exceptionally clear water, the scientists discovered some of the deepest-known photosynthetic organisms. They found a species of photosynthetic wrinkle coral (Leptoseris) at a depth of 197 metres, surpassing the previous record by 25 metres. Additionally, they observed crustose coralline algae at a depth of 350 metres. The whole collections seems like a National Geographic diver’s paradise!

Unlocking the Secrets of the Deep

The expedition’s findings underscore the importance of exploring and understanding these underwater ecosystems. As Easton noted, “Underwater mountain ranges are oases of life and biodiversity, where communities of different organisms band together.” By studying these unique habitats, scientists can gain valuable insights into the complex web of life that thrives in the depths of our oceans.

This remarkable expedition has opened a window into a world that remains largely unexplored, and the discoveries made here will undoubtedly contribute to our understanding of the incredible diversity and resilience of life on our planet.

Photographs by ROV SuBastian/Schmidt Ocean Institute and Press Release

 

I am a Chartered Environmentalist from the Royal Society for the Environment, UK and co-owner of DoLocal Digital Marketing Agency Ltd, with a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University, an MBA in Finance, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics. I am passionate about science, history and environment and love to create content on these topics.

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