More than 5,000 different new species discovered in a vast mineral-rich region in the Pacific Ocean called the Clarion-Clipperton Zone. They were identified by a team of biologists from the Natural History Museum in London, UK. The Clarion-Clipperton Zone, about twice the size of India, has been subdivided and assigned to different companies for future deep-water mining. In order to better understand what might be at risk once the companies begin mining, the team of biologists created the first “checklist of the area,” compiling all species data from previous research expeditions to the region.

The species diversity estimates, published in the journal Current Biology, include a total of 5,578 different species, 88 percent to 92 percent of which are completely new to science.

“We share this planet with this extraordinary biodiversity and we have a responsibility to understand and protect it,” said Muriel Rabone, deep-sea ecologist at the Natural History Museum in London, UK. Stretching over six million square kilometers from Hawaii to Mexico, the Clarion-Clipperton Zone is one of the wildest and most pristine regions of the oceans.

To study it, researchers venture into the Pacific Ocean on research vessels and employ sampling techniques ranging from the technical, such as remote-controlled vehicles that travel along the ocean floor, to simpler ones, such as a sturdy box that sits on the bottom (called “box sampling”).

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