102 Species Added to the Tree of Life

Written by on December 30, 2015 in Marine Life, Other Marine Life, Sharks

In 2015, the California Academy of Sciences described 102 new species, many of which are found underwater. The Academy scientists and international collaborators discovered 26 new fish species, two new species of coral, and nine sea slugs. All the species have been added to the ever-changing tree of life.

“Biodiversity scientists estimate that we have discovered less than 10% of the species on our planet,” Dr. Meg Lowman, the Academy’s Chief of Science and Sustainability, explained in a news release. “Academy scientists tirelessly explore the unexplored regions of Earth—not only to discover new species, but also to uncover the importance of these species to the health of our natural systems. Our findings help inform conservation decisions meant to sustain the future of life for our children and grandchildren.”

Here are a couple of underwater highlights:

Nudibranch (Chromodoris dianae). Photo credit: Alexander R. Jenner, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Nudibranch (Chromodoris dianae). Photo credit: Alexander R. Jenner, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Sea slugs:
This year, Dr. Terry Gosliner described nine new species of nudibranchs (sea slugs). Dr. Gosliner described an expedition to the Philippines as “an underwater Easter egg hunt” because of the number of colorful species in the area. “It was one of the most exciting scientific dives of my 50-year career,” he continued.

Sharks and fishes:
Academy Research Associate Dr. David Ebert searches for fishes that are often overshadowed by the more charismatic species, as those more well-known species represent only a fraction of the species that are in desperate need of protection. This year, Dr. Ebert described a new ghost shark, a deep-sea dusky snout catshark, and a new electric torpedo ray.

To learn more about all of the discoveries, read the Academy news release: 102 new species described by the California Academy of Sciences in 2015.

Copyright © 2015 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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  1. 102 Species Added to the Tree of Life – creativemarinescience | February 13, 2016