Divers discover 200 new marine species 08/12/2011
DIVERS DISCOVER MORE THAN 200 NEW SPECIES IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
Marine biologist divers have discovered more than 200 previously undiscovered species in a series of diving expeditions in the Philippines. In the most comprehensive survey ever to be conducted in this group of islands, the scientists encountered unusual sea urchins, sea stars, corals and sea pens, on their diving expeditions, all of which had never been found before. Among the species unearthed, the scuba diving team found a new type of deep-sea swell shark, that inflates its stomach with water to act as a deterrent to predators; three new types of lobster that squeeze into crevices for protection as opposed to carrying a shell on their back; an unusual crab whose pincers are lined with needle-like teeth; and a starfish that feeds on driftwood. Some of the species the dive team came across were really small, which is perhaps why they had been missed on previous diving trips in the Philippines.
The diving studies were conducted in the waters around Luzon Island, the largest island in the Philippines. This area is meant to be one of the world’s hotspots for unusual, rare and threatened creatures. However, it is also believed that there are many species that scientists and marine biologists do not yet know about. Potentially as much as 90% of the planet’s species have yet to be discovered. This proved to be true in the 42-day diving mission in the Philippines, as the divers came across a new species on nearly every dive.
It was concluded that the waters around the Philippine Islands seem to house more species than any other marine environment in the world. The islands lie next to a deep-water channel, around 60 million years old, whose nutrient rich waters have nurtured a diverse ecosystem over the years that is fascinating for scuba divers to explore.
The underwater studies have reinstated the Philippines as one of the top places to scuba dive on earth. Divers will be guaranteed to see an exciting underwater life, unlike anywhere else on the planet.
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