DIVING FOR DISCOVERY
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.
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