Sunday, June 26, 2011
Scientists have identified more than 300 previously unknown species of land and sea creatures, according to a news release from the California Academy of Sciences. They were discovered on a six-week-long expedition that ended in early June, and focused on the Philippine island of Luzon.
The California Academy of Sciences, together with over two dozen Philippine colleagues, conducted the expedition that recorded the new terrestrial and marine life forms. Academy scientists who work in exotic places frequently discover new species, commonly only a few at one time. Finding 300 species that may be unknown on a single expedition is considered to be extraordinary, according to SF Gate.
The findings will be confirmed using microscopes and DNA sequencing. The identification, scientific description and classification of each specimen as new or old, could take many months or even years.
The expedition leader, Terry Gosliner, an invertebrate zoologist who is also Dean of Science at the California academy, said, "The Philippines is one of the hottest of the hot spots for diverse and threatened life on Earth. Despite this designation, however, the biodiversity here is still relatively unknown, and we found new species during nearly every dive and hike as we surveyed the country's reefs, rainforests, and the ocean floor. The species lists and distribution maps that we created during this expedition will help to inform future conservation decisions and ensure that this remarkable biodiversity is afforded the best possible chance of survival." He emphasized the need for scientists to gather in-depth information about the rare life forms there so they can be given a chance to survive.
On the 42-day expedition, academy officials said in the news release that the creatures found include "dozens of new insects and spiders, deep-sea armored corals, ornate sea pens, bizarre new sea urchins and sea stars, a shrimp-eating swell shark, and over 50 colorful new sea slugs."
== Sources ==
"Beautiful Photos of 300 New Species Discovered in Philippines" — International Business Times, June 26, 2011
David Perlman. "Luzon: Expedition discovers 300 species on island" — SF Gate, June 25, 2011
Press Release: "More than 300 new species discovered in the Philippines during California Academy of Sciences expedition" — California Academy of Sciences, June 24, 2011