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30 new marine species discovered in the Galapagos

Research carried out by scientists in the area of protected deep waters located within the Galapagos Marine Reserve has identified 30 new species of marine invertebrates. The latest discovery includes four species of lobster, one species of giant coral, ten new species of bamboo coral, three previously unknown octopuses, one starfish and eleven species of
Published: October 5, 2020 - 12:35
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 21:15
30 new marine species discovered in the Galapagos

Research carried out by scientists in the area of protected deep waters located within the Galapagos Marine Reserve has identified 30 new species of marine invertebrates.

The latest discovery includes four species of lobster, one species of giant coral, ten new species of bamboo coral, three previously unknown octopuses, one starfish and eleven species of sponge.

The research project was conducted as a collaborative effort by a multidisciplinary and versatile team of scientists who explored the waters of the Galapagos at a depth of 3,400 metres. This involved the use of an extremely modern ROV remotely operated underwater vehicle on board the E/V Nautilus research vessel.

The expedition also explored for the first time three undersea mountains, located around Darwin and Wolf islands.

“This discovery confirms that the Galapagos is a living laboratory where biological and ecological processes are taking place that are still unexplored, making the region an extremely unique place that deserves all our efforts to preserve it,” said Paulo Proaño, Ecuador’s Minister of Environment

In addition, the research has uncovered the presence of a number of underwater ecosystems existing at depths ranging from 290 to 3373 metres, including a number of sensitive habitats such as crystal sponge gardens, coral gardens and cold water coral colonies, which are considered extremely vulnerable marine ecosystems.

This world, which Darwin never saw, represents a unique and unspoilt environment. It is now our responsibility to make sure it remains so for future generations as well,” said Pelayo Salinas de León, principal investigator of the Charles Darwin Foundation and conservation scientist for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Project, who is leading the research

After Charles Darwin’s first visit in 1835, the Galapagos became famous for its biodiversity and its endemic species, i.e. species found nowhere else in the world. The then 26-year-old Darwin spent five weeks exploring the archipelago.

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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