The Galapagos Islands are famous for several endemic species that evolved to fit the exact niche required to live on rocky islands 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Now, marine scientists have found 30 new species deep beneath the ocean’s surface around the Galapagos. Using cutting-edge remote operated vehicles (ROV), expedition crews from the Charles Darwin Foundation , the Galapagos National Park Directorate and the Ocean Exploration Trust explored seamounts as far down as 3,400 meters. Seamounts are extinct underwater mountains entirely covered by seawater. Until now, the Galapagos seamounts were largely unexplored. The 30 newly identified species include 10 bamboo corals, 11 sponges, four squat lobsters and a brittle star. Scientists also found four new octocorals. Commonly known as sea fans, octocorals are polyp-bearing corals . One of the four new octocorals is the first giant solitary soft coral found in the Tropical Eastern Pacific. These new research findings come from a 10-day cruise on the 64-meter research vessel the E/V Nautilus. Scientists manipulated arms on the ship’s two ROVs to collect biological and geological specimens. After the expedition, the team sent these samples to deep-sea experts for identification and analysis. “The many […]

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