More Than 300 New Species Discovered in the Philippines
June 24, 2011
"This spring, scientists from the California Academy of Sciences braved leeches, lionfish, whip-scorpions and a wide variety of other biting and stinging creatures to lead the most comprehensive scientific survey effort ever conducted in the Philippines, documenting both terrestrial and marine life forms from the tops of the highest mountains to the depths of the sea. They were joined on this unprecedented, multi-disciplinary undertaking by more than two dozen colleagues from the Philippines, as well as by a team of Academy educators who worked to share the expedition's findings with local community and conservation groups.
Over the course of the expedition, which was funded by a generous gift from Margaret and Will Hearst, the scientists discovered more than 300 species that are likely new to science, including dozens of new insects and spiders, deep-sea armored corals, ornate sea pens, bizarre new sea urchins and sea stars, a shrimp-eating swell shark, and over 50 colorful new sea slugs. These discoveries will be confirmed and described over the coming months, as the scientists use both microscopes and DNA sequencing to analyze their specimens.
"The Philippines is one of the hottest of the hotspots for diverse and threatened life on Earth," says Dr. Terrence Gosliner, Dean of Science and Research Collections at the California Academy of Sciences and leader of the 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition. "Despite this designation, however, the biodiversity here is still relatively unknown, and we found new species during nearly every dive and hike as we surveyed the country's reefs, rainforests, and the ocean floor. The species lists and distribution maps that we created during this expedition will help to inform future conservation decisions and ensure that this remarkable biodiversity is afforded the best possible chance of survival.""
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