The depths of our oceans are some of the world’s most mysterious frontiers. A recent diving expedition off the coast of Western Australia unearthed new information about our deepest waters with the discovery of 30 new species.
Researchers from Western Australian Museum, Curtin University, Geoscience Australia, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Schmidt Ocean Institute spent 180 hours conducting 20 dives to study the Ningaloo Canyons in the Indian Ocean. The team explored depths of 4,500 meters and even discovered what is believed to be the world’s longest animal.
The new species is called the Apolemia and is 47 meters long, eclipsing the blue whale’s length of 30 meters. Apolemia is technically a siphonophore, a floating colony of tiny creatures called zooids that function as a singular large organism.
Other discoveries include a new variety of giant hydroid, a relative of coral as well as glowing Taning’s octopus squid, long-tailed sea cucumbers, molluscs, barnacles, and squat lobsters.
The team used a robot called ROV SuBastian to document their deep-sea findings. Many of the discoveries will be displayed at the Western Australian Museum and the collected data is available publicly for scientists all around the world to access and study.