Aussie scientists find 'faceless fish' in world-first survey of deep-sea abyss

Updated 2017-05-31 11:31:20 Xinhua

Australian researchers on a world-first expedition have discovered dozens of new species of deep-sea creatures.

The exploration of a deep-sea abyss off the coast of Tasmania, supported by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), has resulted in discoveries ranging from curious to bizarre, researchers said.

Scientists are using small nets and underwater cameras to get the first good look at marine life in the abyss which is more than 4,000 meters deep.

"We've seen some awesome stuff," Di Bray, a researcher from Museums Victoria, told Australian media on Wednesday.

"On the video camera, we saw a kind of chimaera that whizzed by - that's very, very rare in Australian waters.

"We've seen a fish with photosensitive plates that sit on the top of its head, tripod fish that sit up on their fins and face into the current."

Bray said a "faceless fish," of which no record exists since a similar creature was reportedly caught in 1870, was the most exciting find so far.

"That's kind of the highlight so far for us," Bray said.

"It's this fish with nostrils and a mouth and no face.

"Apparently, it's got eyes way under the surface but really you can't see any eyes."

"We're collecting things we don't know from Australian waters," she said.

Tim O'Hara, the chief scientist on the expedition, said it was the first time the eastern abyss had been surveyed with data collected to be used to chart climate change going forwards.

"Down there it's crushing pressures ... there's no light and it's really cold, we're recording temperatures of about one degree Celsius," O'Hara said.

"We know nothing about the abyss, and we need to know.

"We're custodians of that piece of the Earth - lots of things could happen to the deep sea with climate change."

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