Almost five years of studying the deep Atlantic Ocean in unprecedented detail has revealed 12 species new to science. The sea mosses, mollusks and corals had eluded discovery because the sea floor is so unexplored, scientists say.
The project involved researchers from 13 countries around the Atlantic. The team also found approximately 35 new records of species in areas where they were previously unknown.
Researchers warn that the newly discovered marine animals could already be under threat from climate change. Carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean is making it more acidic, causing coral skeletons in particular to corrode.
Ocean warming, acidification, and decreasing food availability will combine to significantly shift and reduce the availability of suitable habitats for deep-sea species by 2100.
The scientists involved stressed it was “not too late to protect these special species” and the important habitats they occupied.