This shows the Amphipod (genus Leucothoe). (Credit: Nova Southeastern U.)

Feb. 28, 2013 — When Jim Thomas and his global team of researchers returned to the Madang Lagoon in Papua New Guinea, they discovered a treasure trove of new species unknown to science.

This is especially relevant as the research team consisted of scientists who had conducted a previous survey in the 1990s.

"In the Madang Lagoon, we went a half mile out off the leading edge of the active Australian Plate and were in 6,000 meters of water," said Thomas, Ph.D., a researcher at Nova Southeastern University's National Coral Reef Institute in Hollywood, Fla. "It was once believed there were no reefs on the north coast of Papua New Guinea since there were no shallow bays and lagoons typical of most coral reef environments. But there was lots of biodiversity to be found."

Thomas and his team discovered new species of sea slugs (nudibranchs), feather stars (crinoids) and amphipods (genus Leucothoe). There was more variety of these indicator species found than there is in the entire length of Australia's 1,600-mile Great Barrier Reef.

More of the story, click image