A team of researchers from Australia and United States, headed by Jess Adkins of the California Institute of Technology, has discovered new marine life in the deep water of Tasmania, an Australian state. They used a remotely-operated submarine to explore the deep waters, collect marine samples and shoot video and pictures.
The newly uncovered marine life forms include the sea quirt (also known as an ascidian), sea spider, purple-spotted sea anemone, gooseneck barnacles and 10,000-year old corals. The sea quirt is reported to be found 4000 meters underwater and is 20 inch tall. It works like a giant Venus trap, capturing nearby prey in its funnel like appendage. The sea spider is a sponge found 200 meters underwater had a waffle-like appearance.
The new findings are believed to help the researchers study the effects of global warming on the coral reefs and estimate the age of the reefs in the Tasmanian waters. Adam Subhas, a researcher in the expedition has an informative blog describing his findings.
In the recent times, many similar discoveries from the marine world have led to a better understanding of biodiversity and potential effects of environment and global warming, etc.
In September 2008, again in the Australian waters, hundreds of new life forms were discovered in an underwater expedition. Previously unseen soft corals with eight tentacles lining each polyp and tiny crustaceans with claws longer than their bodies surfaced.
In 2007, in an Antarctic sea expedition, more than 700 new life forms including carnivorous sponges, isopods, molluscs, etc. were discovered 20,000 feet underwater. It has helped scientists to understand how the marine life forms may have evolved.
Another wonder was unearthed in 2006, when scientists found nearly 250 new species of fish, 12 new species of algae and 50 species of sponges in the Caribbean waters. Of the discovered species of fish, two of the gobies had a sucker on the underside.
All these discoveries have greatly helped in understanding marine ecology and in raising a unified voice to protect these ecosystems from pollution, marine human-traffic and oil and petroleum wastes. In fac tsome of these waters have now being conserved with active interest from their respective governments.
Sources: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/01/photogalleries/deepsea/; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4709594.stm; http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26786412/