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The end of a research mission targeting the oceanic abyss in Australia just revealed the discovery of even more bizarre species. Previous reports had already revealed a faceless fish and several other rare animals. Now, study results also point out the presence of peanut worms, among others.
Museums Victoria scientists conducted this research expedition to the Australian eastern abyss. These were also joined by CSIRO and several other research authorities. The scientific crew boarded the RV Investigator and carried out a month-long expedition.
— Museums Victoria (@museumsvictoria) June 19, 2017
After departing on May 15 from Launceston, Tasmania, the ship docked in Brisbane, Queensland on June 16. Now, the researchers revealed more of the wondrous, bizarre, or concerning data gathered throughout their expedition.
Bizarre Species and Rubbish?
Tim O’Hara, the mission’s senior curator, stated that the abyss, which covers around one-third of the Australian territory, is one of the “largest and deepest” habitats on Earth. Its great depths, going some 4,000 meters down, also make it a difficult to explore area. The crew managed to collect just a relatively small number of samples. But reports state that there will be much to learn from them.
“The data gathered on this trip will be crucial to understanding Australia’s deep-sea habitats, their biodiversity and the ecological processes that sustain them,” states O’Hara.
He then continued by adding that research results will assist in the management and conservation of this environment.
Scientists managed to map the abyss’s floor by using multibeam sonars. This also allowed them to send down collecting gear and bring up samples. The mission managed to collect more than 1,000 different bizarre species. More than a third of them are said to be completely new to science.
Still, the research team was also concerned about the significant amount of rubbish detected on the sea floor. O’Hara states that they discovered anything from beer cans to bottles, woodchips, and even PVC pipes.
Presently, the collection of gathered samples is being processed and photographed. The specimens will also be preserved for research and studies.
A number of samples will be on display at the Melbourne Museum sometimes later in 2017. Some others will go to be studied and perhaps displayed in museums from around the world.
The species discovered are quite bizarre looking due to the fact that they adapted to living in a low to no light, freezing, very deep environment.
Image Source: Wikimedia