29 December 2013
Source: Herald Scotland
Author: Rob Edwards
The fishing and oil industries have been warned to keep away from the deep ocean waters north-west of Scotland where scientists have discovered new sea creatures. Environmental groups say the waters around the tiny island of Rockall, far out in the north Atlantic, should be off limits for exploitation so its strange species and features can be investigated.
The Scottish Government announced yesterday that four species new to science had been found in the sea between 80 and 260 miles west of the Hebrides. They include a sea snail named Volutopsius scotiae, two kinds of clam - Thyasira scotiae and Isorropodon mackayi - and a worm, which is yet to be named.
Scientists from Marine Scotland are very excited by the finds, which they described as incredibly unusual. The worm, which was discovered inside one of the clams, is said to be the first found in the entire Atlantic. Finding the clams and worm at a single site is described as "potentially hugely significant". This is because their presence could indicate a "cold seep", a phenomenon in which hydrocarbons leak into the water from a fissure in the seabed.
"The discovery of these new species is absolutely incredible," said Jim Drewery, the Marine Scotland scientist who oversaw the research.