New deep sea animal discoveries warrant expanded protections in Costa Rican waters

Date: February 11, 2019

Source: Phys.Org
Author: Schmidt Ocean Institute

A three week expedition off the coast of Costa Rica has just expanded our knowledge of deep sea ecosystems in the region. Led by Dr. Erik Cordes, Temple University, the scientists aboard research vessel Falkor surveyed the continental margin for seamounts and natural gas seeps, where specialized biological communities are found. The seamounts extending from the mainland to the Cocos Islands National Park provide an important corridor for the animals occupying the area.

Investigating these systems on all biological size scales, the team focused on relationships between , from microbes to fauna like fish and corals. At least four new species of deep-sea corals and six other animals that are new to science were found. This expedition represents the first time that seven of the seamounts in the area have been surveyed. The , including description of the coral communities that they host, will support the effort to create a new marine protected area around these seamounts ensuring that they are not impacted by fishing or potential mining activities.

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