New species discovered in Atlantic Ocean

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 12:21

London: In a major breakthrough, scientists have found over 10 new species under the Atlantic Ocean, including creatures close to the missing evolutionary link between backboned and invertebrate animals.

The bizarre creatures, oddly-shaped, brightly-coloured or even transparent, that scientists have uncovered during a new study has "revolutionised" thinking about deep-sea life.

Scientists believe they have discovered more than 10 new marine species by using the latest diving technology, Daily Mail reported.

A group of creatures thought to be close to the missing link between backboned and invertebrate animals are among those captured by the team during the six-week voyage aboard the research ship James Cook.

Details of the trip were revealed by scientists at the University of Aberdeen leading the British contribution to the project exploring marine life along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Iceland and the Azores.

Using Britain`s deepest diving, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to reach depths of between 700m and 3,600m, the experts studied the area beneath the cold waters north of the Gulf Stream and the warmer waters to the south.

Professor Monty Priede, director of the University of Aberdeen`s Oceanlab, said: "This expedition has revolutionised our thinking about deep-sea life in the Atlantic Ocean".

On the north-west plains they encountered enteropneust acorn worms, of which only a few specimens from the Pacific Ocean have ever been recorded.

"These worms are members of a little-known group of animals close to the missing link in evolution between backboned and invertebrate animals," Prof Priede said.

"They have no eyes, no obvious sense organs or brain but there is a head end, tail end and the primitive body plan of backboned animals is established.

"By the end of the expedition three different species were discovered each with a different colour - pink, purple and white - with distinctly different shapes," Priede said.

The voyage was carried out as part of the Census of Marine Life programme and was the last in a series of four annual voyages undertaken since 2007.

IANS



First Published: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 12:21

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