New Species Found, New Records Set, Beneath the Bering Sea

A New Species of Sponge: Aaptos kanuux, Discovered During Last Summer's Greenpeace Expedition to the Bering Sea (Photo © Greenpeace/Thomas Einberger)BERING SEA, Alaska — On August 1, 2007, Kenneth Lowyck took his tiny sub to one of the expedition’s “shallower” dives, to about 700 feet into the Bering Sea’s Pribolof Canyon, where he extended the sub’s manipulator arm and collected rock containing a tiny, unassuming white sponge. Months later, there would be no doubt: This was a new species, named Aaptos kanuux, the word “kanuux” being the Aleut word for “heart,” in honor of the Bering Sea’s canyons, considered to be the heart of the Bering Sea. It was the first time the genus Aaptos has ever been documented in the Bering Sea. The discovery comes on the heels of Earth Day and will likely herald future announcements of new species discovered during last summer’s Greenpeace expedition to the Bering Sea’s two largest canyons. [Read more...]

Bering Sea Expedition Continues on Dry Land

The brilliant pink coral, Swiftia pacifica, found at 1,300 feet in Pribilof Canyon, Bering Sea, Alaska (Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

The brilliant pink coral, Swiftia pacifica, found at 1,300 feet in Pribilof Canyon, Bering Sea, Alaska (Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

BERING SEA, Alaska — This past summer, the Greenpeace ship M/V Esperanza carried two manned submersibles, a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) and an international research team to the Bering Sea for a three week survey of Zhemchug and Pribilof Canyons,to map and document deepwater corals living at depths of more than 1,000 feet. The expedition was conceived of and was led by Greenpeace. 1planet1ocean president David E. Guggenheim participated as a sub pilot and scientific consultant. Pribilof and Zhemchug Canyons revealed diverse and complex ecosystems, rich with corals, sponges, fish and other marine life. They also revealed striking human impacts from trawlers, damage that was documented during the expedition. More than a terabyte of video data and numerous biological specimens are now being analyzed and results are being shared with a range of decisionmakers and decisionmaking bodies, including the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

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