New Pacific ocean wildlife research

Idiacanthus sp., dragonfish from Kermadec ridge

From the International Business Times:

Researchers Discover Rare Deep-Sea Animal Species in Kermadec Ridge

By IBTimes Staff Reporter | Jun 26, 2012 01:18 AM EDT

Researchers from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have discovered a host of rare deep sea floor creatures during a three-week voyage to the Kermadec Ridge near New Zealand.

The ridge, which contains about 50 submarine volcanoes, extends almost 1,500 km to the edge of the New Zealand EEZ, northeast of the Kermadec Islands. Hydrothermal vents associated with these volcanoes release hot water and gases with different chemical compositions, so specific communities have adapted to survive in each area.

Apart from the species samples, the researchers also gathered never-before-seen footage of a new hydrothermal vent on an undersea volcano.

“We were able to collect both underwater footage and specimens of chemosynthetic barnacles, mussels, and shrimps on Tangaroa Seamount, confirming active hydrothermal venting,” stated voyage leader Dr Malcolm Clark. “These animals are adapted to the specific combination of depth, temperature and chemical composition of the venting fluids”.

On this trip, NIWA scientists took samples from a variety of deep-sea habitats from within an overall region of 10,000 square kilometres. They have been studying four different undersea habitats: seamounts, hydrothermal vents, continental slope and canyons, at depths of between 700 and 1500 metres.

This work helps scientists understand the vulnerability of deep-sea communities to human activities such as seabed drilling, fishing and mining.

“This trip confirmed our working hypothesis that the environments generated in these different deep-sea habitats vary in their characteristics, and they result in faunal communities that can differ, within close proximity,” says Dr Clark. “The implication is that the exploitation of one seamount could have an effect that is not the same as the seamount close by,” said Dr Clark.

He said the team collected thousands of specimens from the region.

“There is almost certainly something new, as typically almost 10 percent of what we catch in the deep sea is new to science or new to New Zealand,” he said.

This is the second survey in the research programme; the first was carried out on the Hikurangi Margin near Cook Strait in 2010.

The world’s largest marine park has been launched in the Cook Islands located in the Pacific Ocean. Covering over one million square kilometres – 1.06 million km2 – the park will be three times the size of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and twice as large as the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean that topped the list of marine protected areas (MPAs) for two years: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

5 thoughts on “New Pacific ocean wildlife research

  1. Pingback: Common ancestor of all wildlife, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Dear friends,

    One of the most precious ocean environments on our planet could be the site of the world’s first deep sea mine!

    Papua New Guinea is poised to allow massive machines to rip up the bottom of the ocean floor and mine for rare minerals. But the mining company that got the permit has run out of money and the project is in disarray. This is our chance — if we raise a global public alarm now, we can get the government to stop the project for good and put a moratorium on deep sea mining.

    Scientists are warning that disturbing deep sea habitats could be catastrophic for our climate and biodiversity, and the local Papua New Guinea community is already fighting back. But they need a global tidal wave behind them. Click below and let’s build a movement to defend the deep sea:

    The deep ocean is the largest and least understood biological habitat on Earth. For thousands of years, the ocean floor has been spewing out ash rich in minerals like gold, cobalt and copper. And this is what Canadian mining company Nautilus Minerals is after in Papua New Guinea. But mining in the totally unknown deep sea could be so dangerous that several countries have already banned it. It is a pandora’s box and opening it threatens to release plumes of methane into our atmosphere, the irreparable destruction of a critical ecosystem and the possibility of sending toxic metals into our seafood chain.

    Both the Papua New Guinea government and Nautilus claim that the project will contribute to the local and national economy. But the environmental impact outweighs any economic gains, and in a country where 40% of the population lives off the grid, projects like this are much more likely to only benefit the rich. Even Papua New Guinea’s former Attorney General and Minister of Justice is calling on the government to stop this reckless project.

    An entire industry is waiting in the wings to see if the first deep sea mine in the world succeeds–they see this as the next frontier after deep water oil and gas drilling! If we stop this project, we can protect the precious oceans of Papua New Guinea and prevent a massive boom in ocean mining around the world. Sign and share with everyone you know:

    There are millions of unknown species on earth and many of them are deep underneath the ocean. That’s part of what gives the sea so much magic and wonder. We may not fully comprehend the value or importance of the ocean floor, but that’s why we should be sending scientists to probe for information not mega drills to rip it apart. From bees to fin whales, our movement has given voice to the voiceless and protection to some of the world’s most majestic creatures. The ocean needs us now.

    With hope,

    Danny, Andrew, Lisa, Mike, Emily, and the rest of the Avaaz team


    Deep Sea Mining: An Invisible Land Grab (National Geographic)

    Nautilus Minerals continues to consider alternative financing (Reuters)

    The Ocean Could Be the New Gold Rush (National Geographic)

    Tiny sea creatures are saving us from hell on earth. So why are we endangering them? (Grist)


  3. Pingback: Montagu’s harrier video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.