Hundreds of new animal species discovered in deep Antarctic Ocean

This video is called Antarctic Marine Biodiversity.

Translated from Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws:

In the depths of the Antarctic sea, a scientific team has discovered over 700 organisms, so far not known to science.

The team of Angelika Brandt, professor at the zoological institute of Hamburg university [in Germany], found 585 species of isopod crustaceans, and also carnivorous sponges, new to science, marine bristle worms

see also here

and various molluscs.

The Laatste Nieuws article speaks about carnivorous ‘zwammen’, which should be translated as ‘fungi’.

However, a Reuters article shows that sponges are meant.

Also, the Laatste Nieuws writes about arachnids, while isopod crustaceans are meant.

From Nature journal:

17 May 2007

Antarctic biodiversity

Much is known about the marine life on the Antarctic shelf, but the deep waters around the continent are almost unexplored.

The ANDEEP project is designed to fill this gap in our knowledge.

After three sampling expeditions to the Weddell Sea area with RV Polarstern, a clearer picture of the scale and pattern of Southern Ocean biodiversity is beginning to emerge.

A compilation of data using traditional sampling methods in conjunction with video imaging and the latest molecular techniques from these expeditions is published this week.

These new results are a major advance in our understanding of the organisms inhabiting a crucial sector of the deep ocean, revealing a large number of species new to science.

Deep sea animals: here.

Silicon isotopes in Antarctic sponges: an interlaboratory comparison: here.

9 thoughts on “Hundreds of new animal species discovered in deep Antarctic Ocean

  1. Marine species suggest Antarctic “cradle of life”
    Wed May 16, 2007 2:08PM EDT

    By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Carnivorous sponges, 585 new species of crustaceans and hundreds of new worms have been discovered in the dark waters around Antarctica, suggesting these depths may have been the source of much marine life, European researchers reported on Wednesday.

    The team, who scooped samples from as deep as 20,000 feet, found unexpectedly rich diversity of animal life.

    Many belong to species found around the world, notably in the Arctic, while others appear to be unique to the deepest Antarctic waters, the researchers reported in the journal Nature.

    The unique species tend to be the kind that do not spread easily, which suggests the deep, cold southern oceans may have been the source of many types of marine life, the researchers conclude.

    “The Antarctic deep sea is potentially the cradle of life of the global marine species. Our research results challenge suggestions that the deep sea diversity in the Southern Ocean is poor,” said Angelika Brandt of the Zoological Institute and Zoological Museum at Germany’s University of Hamburg.

    “We now have a better understanding in the evolution of the marine species and how they can adapt to changes in climate and environments,” Brandt, who led the expedition, said in a statement.

    Among the new creatures they documented are a gourd-shaped carnivorous sponge called Chondrocladia; free-swimming worms and 674 species of isopod, a diverse order of crustaceans that includes woodlice, also commonly called pillbugs, sea lice or sea centipedes.

    Of the isopod crustaceans, 585 species had never been seen before.

    Between 2002 and 2005, researchers sampled water and the sediment from 2,500 to 20,000 feet in the deep Weddell Sea and adjacent areas.

    Their catch was surprisingly rich.

    “What was once thought to be a featureless abyss is in fact a dynamic, variable and biologically rich environment,” Katrin Linse, a marine biologist from the British Antarctic Survey, said in a statement.

    The researchers said the Weddell Sea is an important source of deep water for the rest of the ocean. Species can enter the depths of the Weddell sea from shallower continental shelves.

    Animals that spread easily, such as the single-celled Foraminifera, were similar to those found in other oceans.

    “The isopods, ostracods (seed shrimp) and nematodes, which are poor dispersers, include many species currently known only from the Southern Ocean,” the researchers wrote.

    © Reuters 2007.


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