During their latest deep sea dive, NOAA scientists have discovered incredible marine creatures. The ship Okeanos Explorer plunged at great depth and investigated marine havens in the American Samoan region, located in the Pacific Ocean. They have unveiled numerous weird-looking animals, underlining the idea that the bottom of the ocean hosts hundreds of amazing species unknown to us.
- NOAA scientists dived at great depth to explore the marine creatures in the American Samoa area.
- Researchers used a ROV to help them reach great depths and they spotted amazing creatures.
- Some of them may be totally new creatures, thus, they have collected some samples for further analysis.
The 2017 American Samoa Expedition of NOAA represents part of a campaign of three years which has as the main focus to collect scientific data around the US marine protected locations in the western and central Pacific. American Samoa is known to be a rich area for discovery, being formed of three different sanctuaries. These marine havens are the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS), the water of the National Park of American Samoa and the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument.
These areas were nominated to protect deepwater reefs, archaeological relics, hydrothermal vent communities and extensive coral reefs. Santiago Herrera, a molecular ecologist at Leigh University, but also a team member of NOAA, stated that a vast number of amazing creatures living at deep-sea level would remain unknown for the fact that there are parts which cannot be explored. Geology and deep-sea habitats around the protected places are bound to remain unexplored.
The expedition conducted by the team of experts is prone to reveal new data by exploring some of the deepest areas located in the Pacific Ocean, in American Samoa. Starting with February 16 until February 26, scientists who relied on the help of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) have conducted numerous dives, unveiling a variety of biological curiosities, from aquatic Venus flytraps to cosmic jellyfish and mollusks.
Herrera argued that they had the opportunity to examine at least a dozen of possible new species of sponges, corals, sea stars, mollusks and feather sea stars. They have also collected some of these species for further analysis. The collections of marine species will help them determine whether they designate new species, providing type specimens for their descriptions and allowing them to perform a genetic analysis.
This kind of examination will help them establish some evolutionary relationships with numerous other species. Researchers also uncovered several communities on seamounts. Moreover, they also documented a remarkable increase in the activity of Vailulu’u Volcano.
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