More than 100 new species discovered in New Zealand's Bounty Trench

More than 100 new species discovered in New Zealand's Bounty Trench

During a deep-sea expedition, an international research team discovered a treasure trove of marine biodiversity in New Zealand's Bounty Trench. Their three-week voyage, led by the Ocean Census Foundation, yielded an astonishing result: more than 100 newly discovered species of fish, molluscs, shrimp, corals and other absolutely mystifying life forms.

Two new eels were caught in a fish trap installed at a depth of 2,700 meters – © NIWA / Ocean Census / Rebekah-Parsons-King

Explore the uncharted depths of Aotearoa

The pioneering mission in the Southern Hemisphere brought together scientists from New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia aboard NIWA's research vessel Tangaroa. Together, they meticulously sampled the seafloor along 800 kilometers of the Bounty Trench, at astonishing depths of up to 4,800 metres.

We visited many different habitats and discovered a whole host of new speciesexclaims Sadie Mills, a marine biologist at NIWA.This partnership will allow us to improve our understanding of seafloor habitats and distribution areas of rare species“.

Enjoy the special richness of the seabed: three non-listed fish species live in the dark depths, along with non-listed molluscs, shrimp, cephalopods and corals. However, the cosmic mystery defies identification.

Michaela Mitchell, a taxonomist at the Queensland Museum, said:Many experts are very excited. This could be a new genus of octocoral corals, or even a new group entirely. An important discovery that gives us a clearer picture of the unique biodiversity of planet Earth“.

More than 100 new species discovered in New Zealand's Bounty Trench
Possible new genus of black coral – © NIWA / Ocean Census / Rebekah-Parsons-King

Mapping Terra Incognita

The Bounty Trough voyage fulfilled the ambition to discover new ocean speciessaid Ocean Census Scientific Director, Professor Alex Rogers. “Our discoveries leave a wonderful legacy for the people of New Zealand“.

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But this victory only portends greater secrets. “We know we've barely scratched the surfacesaid Andrew Stewart, fish curator at Te Papa. “There's a whole world waiting“.

Mr. Rogers emphasized that it is necessary to discover the unseen splendor of the ocean.To manage human activities and prevent the continued decline of marine life“In fact, only 10% of aquatic species are currently listed.

Endless limits

We're just getting started, but the species discovered suggest we still have a long way to go in understanding where life exists in the ocean.“Mr. Rogers concluded.”It's the equivalent of a space mission“.

Since only 10% of life in the oceans is currently known, such expeditions are essential to unlocking the secrets of the deep. The Ocean Census Center, whose ambitious goal is to discover 100,000 new marine species within ten years, is at the forefront of these efforts. The Bounty Trough expedition is a testament to the organization's dedication and the enormous potential for exploration in the unexplored depths of our oceans.

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More than 100 new species discovered in New Zealand's Bounty Trench
A possible new species of lace coral (Stylasteridae: Lepidotheca) – © NIWA / Ocean Census / Rebekah-Parsons-King
More than 100 new species discovered in New Zealand's Bounty Trench
Potential new shrimp species – © NIWA / Ocean Census / Rebekah-Parsons-King
More than 100 new species discovered in New Zealand's Bounty Trench
Possible new species of mollusk – © NIWA / Ocean Census / Rebekah-Parsons-King
More than 100 new species discovered in New Zealand's Bounty Trench
Possible new species of squid – © NIWA / Ocean population / Rebecca Parsons King

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