After 10 years of work, the first official Census of Marine Life has been completed. The census brought together the work of more than 2,700 scientists from all around the world, and data gathered from over 540 expeditions, in an attempt to consolidate a definitive record of all the plants and animal species living in the Earth’s vast oceans.
In the process of compiling the data, 6,000 new species were identified, bringing the total census count of sea species to nearly 250,000. However, scientists predict that there may be at least another 750,000 unknown species yet to be discovered.
Many of the newly discovered species were found in deep waters, or on the sea floor itself.
Dinochelus ausubeli, which translates to “terrible claw”, is a blind lobster with a long, spiny, pincer that was found in the Philippine Sea, 330 yards below the surface.
Another newly discovered species, the Yeti Crab, a furry crab found beside a vent in the deep sea off Easter Island, was determined to be part of a brand new family previously unknown to science.
Researchers also found a new species of worm, dubbed the “Squidworm”, living in the deep water of the Celebes Sea in south east Asia.
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Photo: Laurence Madin, WHOI