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Researchers make unbelievable discovery of new 'alien-looking' ocean species 14,000 feet deep: 'A different type of ecosystem'

"Most of the Earth's biosphere, 99% of all livable space on our planet, is under water."

"Most of the Earth's biosphere, 99% of all livable space on our planet, is under water."

Photo Credit: iStock

An under-the-sea exploration has revealed another mystery of Earth's last frontier, and the stunning discovery has sparked hope that conservation efforts are working.

Researchers believe they found more than 100 new species in the southeast Pacific Ocean after launching a robot that can descend more than 14,000 feet earlier this year, as detailed by The Washington Post.  

The creatures, which included "alien-looking" lobsters, sponges, and sea lilies, were discovered across 10 different seamounts off the coast of South America — underwater mountains that are mostly the remains of extinct volcanoes

"Every single seamount had a different type of ecosystem on it," Hannah Nolan, an expedition and community outreach specialist for the Schmidt Ocean Institute, told the Post. 

The seamount at Rapa Nui, also called Easter Island, had a plethora of sea sponges. 

"Only two species were previously properly reported for the area and now we found about 40 different species," added Universidad Católica del Norte scientist Javier Sellanes, who headed the research team.

As the Post pointed out, the news is "an encouraging sign" that Chilean policies to protect biodiversity are having their intended effects, with restricted fishing at Juan Fernández and Nazca-Desventuradas marine parks among the regulations. 

In December 2022, when the International Union for Conservation of Nature updated its red list of threatened marine species, professor Jon Paul Rodríguez highlighted that treating resources as "inexhaustible" could be catching up to us, as undersea creatures help sustain human life on Earth, including by providing food for billions of people.

"Most of the Earth's biosphere, 99% of all livable space on our planet, is under water," explained Rodríguez, the chair for the Species Survival Commission. "... This Red List update brings to light new evidence of the multiple interacting threats to declining life in the sea."

In order to help move the needle in a positive direction, a global "high seas" treaty was signed last year, and Chile was one of the 87 signatories

The South American country, which features an astounding 88 of the world's 110 known ecosystem types, also launched the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Service agency in February, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, with its eye on more thoroughly protecting its 342 marine and terrestrial public areas. 

After completing their Pacific exploration in February, the scientists need to verify their specimens in the lab before the species are declared unique finds, but it appears the road ahead may have more exciting things to uncover. 

"An unbelievable new world! It shows, given the opportunity, Earth can not only survive, but thrive to an even greater dimension!" one commenter wrote on the Post article.

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