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:
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.