Times Online:More than 17000 new marine species have been discovered during 210 deep ocean expeditions that have taken place for the International Census of Marine Life. Some 300 scientists from 34 nations have plunged down in deep-diving submersibles or piloted robots from research vessels, scouring underwater vastnesses that have never been seen before.This year, an expedition to the mid-Atlantic ridge by teams from Russia, Brazil, South Africa and Uruguay have discovered what is thought to be a new species related to the octopus, nicknamed the “Jumbo Dumbo” as it resembles a fictional flying elephant. This octopod is 2 metres wide and and flies with ear-like fins. Leader of this cruise, Odd Aksel Bergstad of the University of Bergen said in the Times Newspaper that very little is known about how they live or breed and what they feed on.Apparently there is an oasis of topographical relief in the Mid-Atlantic so there is a high concentration of animals.Scientists believe that the study of life within the sea floor is important for determining the viability of schemes to combat climate change by fertilising areas of the ocean to encourage the growth of carbon-consuming microscopic plants. The International Census of Marine Life divided up the survey into five separate zones; the continental margines, the mid-Atlantic ridge, a section of the oceanic mountain range that passes through all the oceans except the Arctic, the abyssal plains, and also the communities of hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. Only the deep ocean trenches have remained out of reach from survey.The information from this census will be used to inform efforts to protect the diversity and abundance of deep-sea species.To read the full article on this interesting survey see The Times Online (Environment).
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