A French-led marine expedition of 80 scientists, technicians, students and volunteers believes it has discovered thousands of new species of mollusks and crustaceans (pictured)around a Philippine island, officials and scientists said. This team includes people from 19 countries. Between 2004-2005, they surveyed the waters around Panglao island, which is located 390 miles southeast of Manila and southwest of the island of Bohol, east of Cebu. [location, and a close-up map]
"Numerous species were observed and photographed alive, many for the first time, and it is estimated that 150-250 of the crustaceans and 1,500-2,500 of the mollusks are new species," said a statement from the expedition team, which was led by Philippe Bouchet of the French National Museum of Natural History.
The Panglao Marine Biodiversity Project team gave more than one hundred holotypes, a representative specimen of rare species, to the Philippine National Museum.
The expedition team said its survey revealed over 1,200 species of decapod crustaceans _ a group that includes crayfish, crabs, lobsters and shrimps -- and some 6,000 species of mollusks.
I would speculate the area of the discovery is relatively free from human disturbance and exploitation. The shell collectors and dealers are likely to be on the way there to loot the resource even as we digest this news. Ah, the beauty of the ecosystem that is free of people.
Ah, yes, having scuba dived near that area and once a shell collector (don't stone me) I know that is one of the most rich area in the ocean for species variety.