September 18, 2008
--A comb jelly trips the light fantastic as it pulses off Heron Island on Australia
's Great Barrier Reef complex.
The creature, which lacks the stingers of jellyfish, was among thousands of species studied at three coral reef sites--two of them along the Great Barrier--during a four-year survey led by the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
The survey team announced today that it has discovered hundreds of animals new to science, including previously unknown microscopic shrimp, worms, scavenging crustaceans--and as many as 150 new species of soft corals. (Read the full story
The reef expeditions were done as part of the Census of Marine Life, a global ten-year initiative to assess the diversity, distribution, and abundance of creatures in the world's oceans.
Photograph courtesy Gary Cranitch/Queensland Museum/copyright 2008