Léa Spaint / Photo credit: ROV SUBASTIAN / SCHMIDT OCEAN INSTITUTE 12:30 p.m., February 28, 2024

An international group of scientists has discovered more than 100 new underwater species off the coast of Chile, according to a press release published on February 22.

Particularly “stunning” discoveries, even though less than 15% of the surface of the seabed is known.

Glass sponges, sea urchins, amphipods, stocky lobsters and many others... In total, 100 new underwater species have been discovered off the coast of Chile, announced the private foundation Schmidt Ocean Institute in a press release dated February 22. 

Thanks to the recent Schmidt Institute expedition, an international group of scientists led by Javier Sellanes of the Universidad Católica del Norte, was able to identify more than 100 species of deep-sea corals, glass sponges, sea urchins, amphipods, stocky lobsters and other species probably new to science. 


- Scientists unravel the mystery behind whale song

Expectations “largely exceeded”

The exploration was carried out in seamounts along the Nazca Ridge and Salas y Gómez, both inside and outside Chilean jurisdiction, to "collect data that could support the designation of an international marine protected area on the high seas.

An underwater robot was used, capable of descending to a depth of 4,500 meters.

This research allowed experts to map 52,777 square km of seabed, a first.

“We far exceeded our expectations on this expedition. You always expect to find new species in these remote and little-explored areas, but the quantities we found, especially for certain groups like sponges, are breathtaking.” , said Javier Sellanes. 


- Space: do white holes, the exact opposite of black holes, really exist?

Scientists wonder

100,000 new species to be discovered within ten years

A second expedition began on February 24 along the Salas y Gomez Ridge, aboard the research vessel Falkor.

Scuba dives in areas over 600 meters deep.

“Complete species identification can take many years, and Javier Sellanas and his team have an incredible number of samples from this incredibly beautiful and little-known biodiversity hotspot,” said Jyotika Virmani, executive director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

As the Schmidt Ocean Institute is a partner of the Nippon Foundation - Nekton Ocean Census Program, the goal of discovering 100,000 new marine species over the next ten years has been set.

This research is all the more important given that today, less than 15% of the surface of the seabed is known.

So much so that scientists have a better understanding of space.