SCI­ENCE

Deep-sea Dis­cov­er­ies of South Java

Asian Diver (English) - - News - By: Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore

De­spite a stormy start thanks to Cy­clone Mar­cus, sci­en­tists who par­tic­i­pated in the South Java Deep Sea Bio­di­ver­sity Ex­pe­di­tion 2018 (SJADES 2018) col­lected more than

12,000 crea­tures dur­ing their 14-day voy­age to sur­vey the un­ex­plored deep seas off the south­ern coast of West Java, In­done­sia. SJADES 2018 is the first con­certed deepsea bi­o­log­i­cal ex­plo­ration con­ducted by Sin­ga­pore and In­done­sia, aimed at study­ing deep-sea marine life in the largely un­ex­plored part of the waters off the south­ern coast of West Java.

The ex­pe­di­tion team, con­sist­ing 31 re­searchers and sup­port staff, was led by Pro­fes­sor Peter Ng, Head of the Lee Kong Chian Nat­u­ral His­tory Museum of the Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore (NUS), and Pro­fes­sor Dwi Listyo Ra­hayu, Se­nior Re­search Sci­en­tist at the Re­search Center for Oceanog­ra­phy (RCO) of the In­done­sian In­sti­tute of Sci­ences (LIPI). The NUS re­search team com­prises sci­en­tists from the Lee Kong Chian Nat­u­ral His­tory

Museum and the Trop­i­cal Marine Sci­ence In­sti­tute.

Some 800 species of sponges, jel­ly­fish, mol­luscs, starfish, urchins, worms, crabs, prawns and fish were found dur­ing the ex­pe­di­tion. Out of these find­ings, the team dis­cov­ered over a dozen new species of her­mit crabs, prawns, lob­sters and crabs, and over 40 species of var­i­ous kinds are new records for In­done­sia.

Us­ing trawls, dredges, box cor­ers and mul­ti­cor­ers, the team col­lected sam­ples across 63 sta­tions, at depths av­er­ag­ing 800 me­tres, with the deep­est depth sam­pled at 2,100 me­tres. The sam­ples col­lected will be stud­ied by sci­en­tists from both coun­tries. This is an­tic­i­pated to take up to two years, and the re­sults will be shared and dis­cussed with the world at a spe­cial work­shop that will be held in In­done­sia in 2020. The out­puts will then be col­lated and pub­lished in the museum’s sci­ence-ci­ta­tion jour­nal, The

Raf­fles Bul­letin of Zo­ol­ogy. “The dis­cov­er­ies have been over­whelm­ing and ex­cit­ing! We have found many things we never imag­ined were liv­ing down there – and they are

all In­done­sian an­i­mals!”

- Pro­fes­sor Ra­hayu, In­done­sian Ex­pe­di­tion Leader

IMAGES: SJADES 2018

ABOVE: A new species of Glyphocran­gon, a bot­tom-dwelling shrimp that can lock its ab­domen to pro­tect against preda­tors

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