Marine scientists say they have discovered 178 species of fish and hundreds more species of other animals and plants in the last year, raising the number of life forms found in the world’s oceans to about 230,000.
The discoveries, made public Tuesday, include a gold-speckled and red-striped goby fish, found in Guam’s waters, that lives in partnership with a snapping shrimp at its tail. While the goby stands sentinel, the shrimp digs a burrow that both use for shelter.
Another surprise for biologists was a colony of rhodoliths, coral-like marine algae, found in Prince William Sound in Alaska. The hard, red plants, which resemble toy jacks, roll like tumbleweeds in the beds used as nurseries by shellfish.
Those in charge of the Census of Marine Life, now four years into a planned 10-year count, say the rate of discovery shows no sign of slowing, even in European and other heavily studied waters. About 1,000 scientists in 70 countries are participating.