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article imageScientists discover new sea creatures off Puerto Rico coast

By JohnThomas Didymus     May 31, 2015 in Science
A team of U.S. scientists involved in a project backed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has conducted groundbreaking exploration of the ocean floor off the coast of Puerto Rico and discovered previously unknown marine creatures.
Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) with a camera attached in a total of 12 dives, the team was able to explore the ocean floor to depths up to 20,000 feet, deeper than if they had used human divers.
According to Quartz, the scientists conducted three separate expeditions in NOAA’s Okeanos, exploring the deep-sea environment off the coast of Puerto Rico over a total of 52 days.
Exotic deap-sea creatures off the coast of Puerto Rico
Exotic deap-sea creatures off the coast of Puerto Rico
Quartz/Quattrani et al
The first two expeditions focused on mapping and gathering relevant data about the uncharted terrain of the ocean floor, while the third expedition, conducted in April, focused on studies of the deep-sea ecosystem and life-forms.
The team then streamed online in real time video images revealing their discovery of a wide variety of exotic creatures, including at least 100 species of fish, 50 species of deep-water corals and other species many of which are being seen by scientists for the first time and do not have identifying scientific or common names.
Exotic deep-sea creatures off the coast of Puerto Rico
Exotic deep-sea creatures off the coast of Puerto Rico
Quartz/Quattrani et al.
Online streaming allowed scientific specialists from around the world to view the video in real time and contribute to the expedition through calls or by logging into an Internet chat room.
The team is still studying the extensive data collected in the expeditions but announced they have discovered two new species of marine animals, including a jellyfish-like animal of the marine phylum Ctenophora,and a new species of fish.
Marine creatures off the coast of Puerto Rico
Marine creatures off the coast of Puerto Rico
Quartz/Quattrani et al.
The website Quartz, posted online portions of the recorded video from the expedition. The footage uncovers breathtaking deep-sea scenery and features exotic life-forms.
Andrea Quattrini, who led the expedition, said, "It's pretty amazing that we haven't been there yet, exploring really deep depths."
Colorful marine creatures of the coast of Puerto Rico
Colorful marine creatures of the coast of Puerto Rico
Quartz/Quattrani et al.
She said that arrangement to stream the footage online was an innovation that added a new dimension to the research and gave scientists around the world access to the new discoveries real time. She said that through online streaming, calls and an Internet chat room, they were able to maintain daily contact with 40 specialists around the world.
Exotic marine life off the coast of Puerto Rico
Exotic marine life off the coast of Puerto Rico
Quartz/Quattrani et al.
The specialists were able to share their expertise in several fields, including marine geology, oceanography and taxonomy.
Deap sea life-form off coast of Puerto Rico
Deap sea life-form off coast of Puerto Rico
Quartz/Quattrani et al.
"Scientists from all over the world can log into the chat room and we can discuss are observations as we go. There will be a starfish expert or a jellyfish expert or a coral expert and so they’re all working with us together, which is very unique. On other research expeditions you only have a certain number of bunks on the ship and so only say 12 or 15 scientists can go at once."
More about Puerto rico, sea creature, Puerto Rico coast, NOAA, ctenophore
 
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