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The student news site of St. Dominic High School

Crusader Nation

The student news site of St. Dominic High School

Crusader Nation

Research Expedition Uncovers New Species

The+Bounty+Trough+team+at+work+abroad+the+RV+Tangaroa
Rebekah Parsons-King/NIWA
The Bounty Trough team at work abroad the RV Tangaroa

A New Zealand research expedition of the Bounty Trough, is believed to have uncovered around 100 potentially new oceanic species. 

The 21 day expedition on the Tangaroa, was both led and funded by Ocean Census, The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), and the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The team chosen for the research trip was faced with the task of exploring the Bounty Trough, a nearly unexplored rift basin in the southwest Pacific Ocean. 

The Bounty Trough has been unexplored for so long because of its depth. The Tangaroa team collected samples from as deep as 15,000 feet underwater within the Trough, which stretches nearly 500 miles wide. 

The researchers wildly exceeded their goal of simply exploring the Bounty Trough, collecting over 1,700 specimens, over 100 of which they believe to be undiscovered species. Now that they are back on land, the team is collaborating with other scientists globally in a three week taxonomy workshop, to classify the specimens they collected. Some of the new species reportedly include three fish, dozens of mollusks, a shrimp, a cephalopod, eelpouts, and corals. 

What could be their most exciting find, is a specimen that has yet to be classified and continues to stump the team and taxonomy experts. Originally thought to be a new species of octocoral, it is believed it could be a new genus or something outside of octocorals all together. 

With further study, the Tangaroa team believes that these new species could be key in furthering our understanding of deep sea ecology and biodiversity as a whole. 

Once these new species have been classified, they will be housed in either the NIWA Invertebrate Collection, or in the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Mollusk and Fish Collections. All new species and further knowledge from the expedition will be published in later editions of the New Zealand Marine Biota NIWA Biodiversity Memoir. 



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