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

north of the Azores. The lines of evenly-spaced, 5 cm-wide holes create the impression of someone having "used a sewing machine to create this landscape," according to the researchers. While the suspected burrower is a large crustacean or deep-sea blind lobster, several questions linger. "Perhaps each line is a burrow with multiple entries, or is it a succession of burrows with just a single opening, but then how and why can these lines be that straight?" ("Fig. 16." Photo credit: MAR-ECO.)

  • Two specimens of the rare Aphyonus gelatinosus, a strange bottom-dwelling, semi-transparent fish covered in a gelatinous layer, recorded only once before in the North Atlantic. ("Fig. 10." Photo credit: David Shale.)

    Also among the more than 80,000 specimens collected:

    • A deep-sea anglerfish with an unusual head structure and uniquely formed "lure" at the end of the fishing apparatus that sets it apart from other known species ("Fig. 8." Photo credit: Tracey Sutton);

    • An unusual member of the Promachoteuthidae family of squids, distinguished by their small heads and small eyes covered with a semi-opaque pseudo-cornea ("Fig. 7". Promachoteuthis megapter. Photo credit Richard Young");

    • At least one suspected new species of Ophidophormes, one of the most common deep-sea fish orders ("Fig. 9." Photo credit: Franz Uiblein).

    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
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  • Contact: Terry Collins
    collins1@sympatico.ca
    416-538-8712
    Census of Marine Life
    5-Aug-2004


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