Two-month study of life in mid-Atlantic yields trove of species, new insights & questions

August 05, 2004

Exploring life in the mid-Atlantic at various depths down to 4 km (2.5 miles), 60 scientists from 13 countries on a two-month expedition have surfaced a wealth of new information and insights, stunning images and marine life specimens, several thought to be species never before known to science.

Using remotely-operated deep-sea vehicles, hydroacoustics and other technologies for sampling and observation, the Norwegian-led MAR-ECO Expedition (http://www.mar-eco.no), part of the 10-year, $1 billion Census of Marine Life (www.coml.org), has captured or recorded rare and potentially new species of squid and fish, measured the abundance of life, and advanced knowledge of - while raising new questions about - many other aspects of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge ecosystem.

Among the scientists' discoveries and interests:

Also among the more than 80,000 specimens collected:

Extensive analyses will be conducted to disprove or verify these and other candidate specimens as new species.

The Norwegian research vessel G.O. Sars arrives at its home port, Bergen, Norway, late Weds. Aug. 4. Project leaders will release preliminary results from their cruise at a news conference at Bergen's Institute of Marine Research, Thurs. Aug. 5 at 3 p.m. local time (2 p.m. BST, 1 p.m. GMT, 9 a.m. EDT). The full media release of current expedition highlights is online at http://www.coml.org/embargo/embargo3.htm

Conducting the expedition, which embarked from Bergen June 5 with a mid-voyage crew change in the Azores: scientists from Austria, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, UK and USA.

MAR-ECO

Co-ordinated by Norway's Institute of Marine Research and the University of Bergen, MAR-ECO is supported by a large number of public and private contributors, listed online at http://www.mar-eco.no/about/sponsors
-end-
Census of Marine Life
More than 300 scientists from 53 countries are at work on the Washington DC-based Census of Marine Life, designed to assess the diversity, distribution and abundance of ocean life and explain how it changes over time. The scientists, their institutions and government agencies are pooling their findings to create a comprehensive and authoritative portrait of life in the oceans today, yesterday and tomorrow.

Census of Marine Life

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