he expedition was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as part of its Ocean Exploration program, and employed their largest vessel, NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown (www.moc.noaa.gov/rb/index.html).
In addition to the nets and trawls to capture zooplankton and fishes, SCUBA divers made collections during day and night open ocean dives.
"Among more than 1,000 individual organisms identified at sea, our team of 28 leading marine experts on board found what appear to be several undescribed species that may well prove new to science," says the cruise's scientific leader Peter Wiebe, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA.
The team of 28 experts from 14 nations, who have spent decades learning to distinguish species within a particular group, sorted through samples in a kind of assembly line "that would have made Henry Ford proud," according to University of Connecticut post-doctoral investigator Rob Jennings, leader of the on-board "Team DNA."
Scientific highlights from the cruise
The plankton captured includes tail-kicking shrimp-like creatures (copepods and ostracods), swimming worms, flying snails (pteropods), and pulsing jellyfish.
With experts glued to their microscopes for three weeks, the cruise captured and identified an astonishing fraction of the species diversity known in the Atlantic Ocean. All of these specimens are in the queue for DNA barcoding:
- hundreds of species of the tiny shrimp-like animals, called copepods, that sustain commercial fish stocks throughout the world ocean;
- nearly half (65 of 140 species) of all Atlantic species of ostracods another shrimp relative plus six species thought to be new to science;
- half (24 of 48 species) of all known shelled pteropods (swimming snails)
Most of all, the expedition yielded new understanding of the diversity of gelatinous planktPage: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Related biology news :1
Contact: Terry Collins
Census of Marine Life
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