By Paul Brewin

The new species and new records keep pouring in as the SMSG and AIMS team is on its 10th day of our 2015 Ascension Island diving expedition.  As with previous years, specialists Jude Brown and Peter Wirtz helped identify crustaceans, nudibranchs, flatworms, anemones, and corals that are either new records for Ascension, or new species to science.

Jude

This year the team has focused on those places that have been historically overlooked, such as the labyrinth of spaces in tile fish piles (see previous blog entry), cryptic species living inside rhodoliths (balls of calcareous algae that contain small spaces), under rocks, and interesting commensals such as tiny almost translucent crustaceans that live on black coral trees.

Crustacean flatworm Nudibranch

Photos of crustacean, flatworm and nudibranch

 

It is difficult to count up exactly how many new critters we’ve found at the moment without more detailed study on each taxa.  But for now, its clear that the marine biodiversity inventory of Ascension Island is still climbing, continuing to highlight the uniqueness of this marine biodiversity hotspot in the middle of the equatorial Atlantic.