Discovery of new underwater species!
An expedition to the South West Indian Ocean has found new species of Yeti crabs, sea cucumbers and snails in a “Dragon Vent.” This exciting discovery was made by a robotic submersible thousand’s of metres below the surface by Dr Jon Copley and the Southampton University team who journeyed to the area from November to December 2011. The expedition included Oxford and Southampton Universities and the Natural History Museum.
Artist Mariele Neudecker is collaborating with Oxford Universities Professor Alex Roger’s who led the ship’s sea mount exploration and she will be making new artworks in 2012 with video footage from Alex’s team.
However, the Chinese have been granted mining rights in the same South Indian Ocean area of underwater mountains area earlier this year, by the UN International Seabed Authority as these ecologically important vent chimneys are very rich in copper, zinc, gold and uranium.
Dr Jon Copley, from Southampton University, leading the discovery team said “the exploitation of the deep ocean is overtaking its exploration. We’re fishing in deeper and deeper waters, oil and gas is moving into deeper waters and now there’s mining starting to take place in deep waters. We need to understand how species disperse and evolve in the deep oceans if we’re going to make responsible decisions about managing their resources.”
Alex Rogers expedition blog.