New marine species discoveries off New Zealand

This video from New Zealand says about itself:

Carinate Rattail – (Macrourus carinatus)

This weird (ugly) fish is from 1061m deep. From off north-east Chatham Rise, east of New Zealand.

From the Otago Daily Times in New Zealand:

Scientists discover new deep sea life off NZ coast

Wed, 4 Nov 2009

A deep-sea marine biodiversity survey of seamounts on the Chatham Rise has produced a bounty of new species.

The finds were made by National Institute of Water Atmospheric Research (Niwa) research vessel Tangaroa, on 18-day voyage in July along the Chatham Rise.

The rise stretches for 1000km from near the South Island eastward.

The finds include a coral genus Narella and nicknamed “Rasta” because of its long white dreadlock-like branches; a tiny squat lobster measuring 1cm across; and some specimens of sea urchin which are commonly known as Tam O’Shanters due to their similarity to the Scottish hat.

“There are three new corals that we are confident are new species from the area,” said scientist Di Tracey. …

Three surveys of the Graveyard region since 2001 have revealed high levels of biodiversity, and many undescribed species.

They include benthic macroinvertebrates — animals without backbones that are larger than millimetre long — such as corals, sponges, seastars, snails, lobsters, clams, and marine worms.

The first survey alone showed 15 percent of the species collected were unknown in the New Zealand region, plus 14 species new to science. Six new species of lace coral were discovered in the second survey in 2006.

Seamounts can be ecologically valuable as hotspots of biodiversity and economically valuable and they are often the target of commercial fishing.

But the Chatham Rise — where the fishing industry wiped out the commercial viability of the orange roughy through overfishing — is also being targeted by miners eyeing its multi-billion dollar phosphate resources.

Widespread Energy and its parent company Widespread Portfolios applied in August 2007 for a prospecting licence over a 3048 square kilometre area of the rise.

It hoped that 100 million tonnes of phosphorite (rock phosphate) valued at more than $50 billion can be scraped off the seabed.

And an Auckland company Chatham Phosphate Ltd has applied for another 71,750sq km around the Widespread prospect.

New species of carnivorous sponge found off New Zealand: here.

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