Discovering and Describing Diversity — From Deep-Sea to the Shore
Exploration of our oceans continues to reveal unknown animal species. On average 2000 new marine species are described each year. The discovery of new and curious organisms inhabiting the deep-sea might seem expected; however, the vast number of undescribed species are not limited to these remote habitats. In fact, we still keep finding new species in some of the most studied coastal environments.
As we face a critical environmental crisis that threatens the biodiversity of our planet, documenting and describing species diversity, that directly affects conservation efforts and policy making is more important than ever. I will be presenting the discoveries resulting from the past 2 years of research, including two deep-sea expeditions to hydrothermal vents at the Gulf of California, and methane seeps off Costa Rica. Beginning from the serendipitous moment of discovery, I aim to describe the meticulous process of naming and describing new species, that combines; next-gen sequencing, phylogenomics and advanced morphological techniques. Some of these discoveries include, a bizarre parasitic isopod, a new species of enigmatic Xenoturbella, tiny yet beautiful sea daisies (Xyloplax spp.), several new polychaete species and more.