DIV­ING FOR DIS­COV­ERY

Asian Diver (English) - - Man & Sea -

The old­est life on the planet is found in the ocean. But our seas are yet to give up all their se­crets. Delv­ing be­neath the sur­face, Dr. Richard Smith in­ves­ti­gates the bounty of re­cent marine dis­cov­er­ies

IN A TIME of such hy­per­con­nec­tiv­ity, a pop­u­la­tion of seven and a half bil­lion souls, and space probes that re­lay in­for­ma­tion from be­yond our so­lar sys­tem, you might ex­pect that we’d have a pretty fair idea about the num­ber of species in our oceans. The truth of the mat­ter is, sci­en­tists are still dis­cov­er­ing hun­dreds of new species each year – un­sur­pris­ingly, given that undis­cov­ered species are be­lieved to ac­count for 70-80 per­cent of all marine species. As the first gen­er­a­tion with the abil­ity to freely ex­plore the oceans us­ing scuba, our com­mu­nity has made a huge con­tri­bu­tion to the dis­cov­ery of new species.

With the ease of cap­tur­ing dig­i­tal im­ages, the rate of new dis­cov­er­ies made by recre­ational divers has sky­rock­eted. It is an ex­cit­ing time to be div­ing the Co­ral Tri­an­gle.

Text & im­ages by Dr. Richard Smith

TOP I found this tiny Doto sp. Nudi­branch was feed­ing on a hy­droid in Tri­ton Bay. Like many nudi­branch it ap­pears to be un­de­scribed ABOVE Ja­mal’s dot­ty­back, Manon­ichthys ja­mali, was named in 2007 and is only found in the area north of Tri­ton Bay

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