The Environmental Biology group discovers two new species of hydrozoans in the seabed of the African coast

Researchers from the Environmental Biology Group of the Marine Research Center (CIM) of the University of Vigo, have just published an article in the scientific journal Deep-Sea Research Part I in which they describe two new species of hydrozoa found in West African cold-water coral mounds, located more than 400 meters deep. This finding was made by the researcher Marta Gil, who carried out this study supervised by the researchers, Fran Ramil, CIM senior researcher, and André Freiwald, director of the German institute Senckenberg and Meert Wilhelmshaven.

The new species were named as Rosalinda nowaldi and Rosalinda lundavi and belong to the genus Rosalinda, which until now included four species worldwide geographically distributed. Both species appeared on their respective bivalve shell: Rosalinda nowaldi on the shell of Acesta angolensis, in northern Angola, and Rosalinda lundavi, on the shell of Acesta excavata, in Mauritania.

“It is always important to know the environment that surrounds us and, in this context, hydrozoans are a relevant group within the sessile epifauna and benthic communities”, said Gil. The researcher also emphasizes that it is a taxonomic group that build three-dimensional ecosystems, facilitating the settlement of other invertebrates species, wich increase the seabed biodiversity. “In addition, they are good indicators of environmental quality, since they are present in all ecosystems, hence the importance of continuing to study them further”, underlines the author of the article.

In addition to this article, Marta Gil and Fran Ramil also recently published another study in the journal Zootaxa, signing with José Ángel Ansín, another group’s researchers. In this case, the researchers present the species of benthic hydrozoans collected on the cold-water coral mounds of Mauritania, where they identified a total of 35 species, 26 genera and 16 families. Among them, two are newly discovered: Nemertesia freiwaldi, and Nemertesia caboverdensis. The results of this study highlight the high affinity between the hydrozoan fauna of cold-water coral mounds of Mauritania and the Atlantic-Mediterranean region, different from that found in the tropical waters of the eastern Atlantic.

With these new findings, there are now more than 40 species and four new genera from different taxonomic groups discovered by the Environmental Biology Group of the Marine Research Center of the University of Vigo, a team that focus a good part of its activity in the study of the marine benthic biodiversity and its conservation, paying special attention to the deep-sea fauna.

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