New Marine Discoveries Show Possible Ocean Acidification

January 18, 2009

Australia (ChattahBox) – Scientists have found several examples of formerly unknown marine life, such as a bright red type of coral, sea anemones that are covered in purple spots, and various sea spiders. However, the same creatures are quickly dying, a fact that has researchers concerned, and wondering about the cause.

A large majority of the red coral they discovered were found to have recently died, when the researchers made their way to 4,200 feet below the surface of the water. While the cause is unknown, the phenomenon seems to be a new development, and so samples that were taken from the reefs are hoped to determine the cause of the deaths.

“Mathematical models predict that we could be seeing impacts of ocean acidification in this region,” Ron Thresher, one of the chief researchers, told reporters.

“If our analysis identifies this phenomenon as the cause of the reef system’s demise, then the impact we are seeing now below 1,300 meters might extend to the shallower portions of the deep reefs over the next 50 years, threatening this entire community.”

Whatever the cause of the coral deaths, the scientists on the project are thrilled over the findings, that also included a strange sponge that has the look of a waffle, and a sea squirt that shows carnivorous tendencies.

“Given we probably know more about deep space than we know about the deep sea, these are incredibly exciting results,” Ghislaine Llewellyn, a marine biologist with the Ocean division of the World Wildlife Fund said.

“Australia has its own underwater grand canyon on its doorstep and these submersible dives have opened a window on the secrets of this place and its creatures.”


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