Around 100 new species discovered off Chile

Published 4 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
The new species were captured on camera by a deep-sea robot.

Scientists have discovered new, rich ecosystems on seamounts off Chile. More than one hundred new species have been found.

The Schmidt Ocean Institute used a deep-sea robot to film previously unexplored seamount environments. The images were taken at depths down to 4,500 meters near the Nazca and Salas y Gómez seamounts, which together extend nearly 3,000 kilometers underwater. The researchers captured more than 100 new species on film, including sponges, amphibians, sea urchins, crustaceans and corals.

They also found four new seamounts in the area, according to a press release. The largest of these measured 3530 meters from the seafloor to the top and was unofficially named Solito. Each seamount had a fragile ecosystem.

– We far exceeded our hopes on this expedition. You always expect to find new species in these remote and poorly explored areas, but the amount we found, especially for some groups like sponges, is mind-blowing, said Dr. Javier Sellanes.

The researchers suggest that the seamounts’ diverse ecosystems are largely due to their location in protected marine parks. Scientists will continue to study the new species, which could shed more light on the complex lineages of the wider region and the evolutionary twists and turns that have shaped them.

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