Washington: Biologists have discovered
some new species living in a volcanic area in New Zealand --
all microscopic and some potentially useful, which they claim
haven`t been found anywhere else in the world.
An international team, led by Matthew Stott of GNS
Science in New Zealand, has uncovered the micro organisms in
Taupo Volcanic Zone.
Microorganisms make up 50 per cent of the world`s
biomass and are vital to the healthy functioning of our planet
and Stott said DNA sequencing work revealed an "extraordinary
diversity" of bacterial species in geothermal systems, the
function and role of many of which were unknown.
"Up until now the microbial diversity in geothermal
systems in the Taupo Volcanic Zone has not been systematically
catalogued. This study has shown that New Zealand geothermal
systems house an extraordinary population of unique and
possibly globally rare micro organisms.
"We`re still not sure whether this diversity
relates to the uniqueness of New Zealand geothermal systems,
or whether it`s because of the relative immaturity of the
global understanding of microbial ecology science.
"Current estimates are that we only know of 5-10 per
cent of the total microbial species on earth," he said.