100 new species of sharks and rays discovered in Australia
September 19, 2008
Scientists have described 100 new species of sharks and rays in the seas around Australia.
Researchers from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) used DNA analysis to catalog a backlog of shark and ray specimen over an 18-month period. The scientists say the effort — which adds roughly 10 percent to the global number of known shark and ray species — will help marine conservation and climate monitoring initiatives.
“Additional taxonomic information like this is critical to managing sharks and rays, which reproduce relatively slowly and are extremely vulnerable to over-fishing and other human impacts,” said Peter Last, team leader of the project. “Their populations are also sensitive to small-scale events and can be an indicator of environmental change.”
The Southern Dogfish Centrophorus zeehaani, a new species of gulper shark endemic to southern Australia. Image credit = CSIRO
The descriptions will be published in the 2009 edition of the book "Sharks and Rays of Australia".