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Wealth of new species found at the Great Barrier Reef - Science, News - The Independent

Among the discoveries were dozens of small crustaceans, a rare insect-like animal with a whip-like back leg three times the length of its body and a jellyfish that floats upside down to dangle its tentacles in the sunlight.

About half of the 300 soft corals found are thought to be new discoveries, although they will only be given names and classified formally once the scientists have compared them against existing species. Unlike their hard-bodied cousins, soft corals do not build reefs but are nevertheless considered vital for the marine environment. These colourful animals can dominate some regions of the sea, covering up to 25 per cent of the ocean floor.

The four-year project is centred on the extensive coral reefs of western and north-western Australia and is part of a larger effort to take a census of all marine life in the world, due to be finished in 2010. When complete, the census will be used as a "baseline" to try to quantify the rate at which species are becoming extinct in the marine environment.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 04:38:05 PM EST
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