Ocean Expedition Finds 1M New Species

And reveals that there's a lot of plastic threatening them
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2012 7:17 AM CDT
Ocean Expedition Finds 1M New Species
Researchers find over on million microscopic sea creatures during a two-and-a-half year trek across the world's oceans.   (?MarshallMatthew)

Researchers will today present the fruits of a two-year 70,000-mile journey: up to 1 million previously undocumented species found living in the world's deep oceans, reports The Independent. The research ship Tara collected thousands of samples from depths of up to 2,000 meters, yielding more than 1.5 million organisms, far more than anyone thought existed down there. The species, which range in length from a centimeter down to mere billionths of a meter, will be unveiled tonight at a museum in London, the Daily Mail reports.

The journey also illuminated how much plastic ends up in the ocean—up to 50,000 pieces within one square mile of the Atlantic. Plastic will remain in the ocean for hundreds of thousands of years, they say, and toxins from the pollution could make their way into human diets by way of seafood. And if CO2 emissions aren't reduced, many of these newly discovered organisms "could go extinct in years to come," the scientists warn. (More scientific research stories.)

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