Researchers Observe Many New Species on Seamounts Off Chile Coast

Posted on April 13, 2024

Chaunax on Rapa Nuia

Researchers think they discovered up to 50 new deep-sea species in remote underexplored seamounts off the coast of Chile. The international team of researchers was led by Ariadna Mechó of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS).

The Schmidt Ocean Institute expedition explored the underwater mountains of the Salas y Gómez Ridge. It stretches from offshore Chile to Rapa Nui.

Mecho says in the announcement, "The main results of this campaign are that we have found between 50 and 60 potentially new species at first sight, a number that is likely to increase as we have many samples to work on in the laboratory. We also found one of the deepest mesophotic corals in the world, extending the distribution of this Polynesian fauna by several hundred kilometers. And at depth, we have found fields of sponges and corals, habitats that are considered vulnerable and in need of protection."

The Chaunux pictured above also shows up at the 14 second mark in the video below. The video shows some of the species seen during the expedition from February 24 through April 4, 2024.

Image: ROV SuBastian / Schmidt Ocean Institute

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