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July 12, 2011

More Surprises

BY: Silvia García


© OCEANA / Carlos Minguell


Logo LIFE-INDEMARESIt is impressive how, after almost 50 dives made by Oceana with the underwater robot (ROV) in this area, we can still find new habitats. This time, the surprise has come by the hand of a mollusk, the giant oyster Neopycnodonte zibrowii. More than 400 metres in depth, over some rocks, we have found several individuals of this long-lived animal, who lives up to 500 years and is considered a living fossil. It was recently found alive for the first time in the waters of the Azores, and a few months ago the same finding was made, this time in Spanish waters, by our colleagues of the IEO –the Spanish Oceanography Institute- in the Gulf of Cadiz, also during a campaign within the framework of the INDEMARES project.

Of course, we cannot forget mentioning the sighting of a Centrostephanus longispinus, the long-spine sea urchin protected by the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean and, which, incidentally, is very similar to the lime urchin or Diadema antillarum, which is devouring the algae coverage in the Canaries in areas where its population has skyrocketed, due to the environmental imbalance that marine ecosystems are suffering because of the continuing irresponsible intervention of man in the sea.