From Biology News Net:
An international team of scientists including Université Laval biologist Connie Lovejoy has discovered new life forms in the Arctic Ocean.
The team’s findings are reported in the January 12 edition of the journal Science.
The researchers have discovered a new group of microscopic organisms, which they have baptized “picobiliphytes”: pico because of their extremely small size, measured in millionths of a meter, bili because they contain biliproteins, highly fluorescent substances that transform light into biomass, and phyte meaning they are plants.
The discovery came from carefully analyzing DNA sequences belonging to vast communities of micro-organisms living in the ocean.
“There was one group of sequences that just didn’t line up with any of the known groups,” explains Dr. Lovejoy.
“In fact, the divergence of this group from known organisms is as great as the difference between land plants and animals,” adds the scientist.
Over this last year the team has been scouring data bases, verifying their results and applying new techniques to their samples.
They can now confirm that these new life forms are abundantly distributed throughout northern seas.
They have yet to be brought into culture, but can be seen using advanced microscopy techniques.
See also here.
Wildlife of Baffin island and high Arctic: here.