Scientists Discovered Over 5,000 Never-Before-Seen Species Deep In The Ocean

robot inspects ocean floor - 5000 new species


More than 5,000 never-before-seen animal species have been discovered deep in the Pacific Ocean through various scientific expeditions in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone.

The Clarion-Clipperton Zone is a fracture zone with a depth of 2.5 to 3.7 miles and an area of about twice the size of India. It runs from Mexico to Hawaii and covers approximately 2.3 million square miles.

This discovery was recently published in the journal Current Biology.

In the report, lead author and deep-sea ecologist Muriel Rabone of the Natural History Museum in London states, “There are so many wonderful species in the CCZ. With the possibility of mining looming, it’s doubly important that we know more about these really understudied habitats.”

The mining she is referring to are deep-sea mining companies looking to harvest nodules of manganese, nickel and copper found deep in the ocean.

According to New Scientist, the scientists discovered 5,578 different species in the CCZ and estimate that as much as 92 percent of them are brand new to science. Only 438 of these species have been officially named thus far.

Rabone believes there could still be another 6,000 to 8,000 more unknown species present in the CCZ.

“I think it would be ill-advised to be pushing ahead with mining without adequate knowledge,” said Rabone. “It’s particularly critical that we double down on the efforts to understand this region. Most of the species appear to be very rare.”

So far, no commercial mining has taken place in the CCZ, but there have been small-scale mining tests.

Live Science reports…

The most abundant phylum is arthropods — invertebrates with an exoskeleton such as sea spiders, barnacles and crustaceans — which makes up 27% of the database; followed by annelids, or segmented worms, which makes up 18% of the list; and nematodes, or non-segmented worms, which makes up 16% of the species listed. Other groups include cnidarians, a phylum including jellyfish and corals; poriferans, or sponges; mollusks, which include nudibranchs, bivalves and cephalopods; and the nearly indestructible tardigrades.

Of the named species listed in the CCZ checklist, only six have been recorded living outside the CCZ, which suggests that a majority of the unidentified species listed are also endemic to the region.

The CCZ does not fall under any one country’s jurisdiction so any deep-sea mining that takes place there will have to have the approval of the United Nations’ International Seabed Authority.

17 contracts to mine the CCZ have already been granted, covering 463,000 square miles, but “delays in developing regulations for deep-sea mining are holding up the start of operations,” according to New Scientist.

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