39 new sea creatures potentially discovered by scientists - study

They include types of sponges, starfish and coral, discovered between Hawaii and Mexico.

 The sun sets over the Pacific Ocean on the summer solstice in Santa Monica, California, U.S., June 21, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON)
The sun sets over the Pacific Ocean on the summer solstice in Santa Monica, California, U.S., June 21, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON)

Researchers have discovered approximately 39 new sea creatures using both morphological and molecular evidence.

The peer-reviewed study revealing the discoveries, published this month in the journal ZooKeys, was led by Guadalupe Bribiesca-Contreras of the UK Natural History Museum and researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The discovery "highlights the need for detailed taxonomic studies incorporating genetic data," the study says.

Exploring areas in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Mexico, also known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), new sea creatures discovered include types of sponges, starfish and coral. In order for the researchers to have made these discoveries, they used a remotely operated vehicle to explore marine life that would be present in the CCZ.

The CCZ is estimated to be 5,500 meters at its deepest. Therefore, operators of the vehicle had to evacuate via a vessel above the surface.

 Handout of a starfish, also known as a sea star suffering from a wasting disease epidemic. (credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lafferty) Handout of a starfish, also known as a sea star suffering from a wasting disease epidemic. (credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lafferty)

The teams in this study collected "55 specimens of benthic megafauna" which are bigger than microscopic organisms, and 48 different morphotypes "belonging to five phyla, were found, with only nine referable to known species."