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Our oceans, and the deep ocean in particular, are largely unexplored. To date, 33,000 marine species have been recorded in Australia’s oceans PDF (28.7MB). A further 17,000 have been collected but not yet described.

Incredibly, it's estimated that 91 per cent of Australia’s marine species remain undescribed. However, research conducted by RV Investigator is helping change that!

We’re recruiting. A potentially new species of blind cusk eel collected from the deep ocean around the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in 2022. Image: Museums Victoria-Ben Healley.

Uncovering life in our oceans

Since the vessel arrived in 2014, collaborative teams of scientists have been taking to the high seas and using the unique capabilities of RV Investigator to survey, collect and describe life in our oceans. Illustrating just how much life is still to be discovered, across three voyages on RV Investigator in 2015, 2017 and 2018, it was estimated that over 1000 new marine species were collected and are now awaiting description.

Meet some of the new species that have been described from voyages on RV Investigator.

Current count: 106 new species described

New species list

19/06/24 IN2015_C02 9 Clathrina williamsi
Leucascus boomerang
Ascoleucetta gabensis
Ascoleucetta globularis
Ascoleucetta parallela
Ascoleucetta plana
Leucetta conspicua
Robspongia vociva
Rappya australiensis

Calcareous sponges
14/06/24 IN2022_V09 1 Neomerinthe parallelaspina Parallel-spine Scorpionfish
1/03/24 IN2022_V09
4 Atheraster phaeos
Atheraster umbo
Circeaster dux
Evoplosoma pharos
Sea stars
8/11/23 IN2017_V03 5 Radiella nidula
Radiella pumix
Spinularia flagellata
Tentorium labium
Ridleia echidna
Deep-water sponges
22/09/23 IN2017_V03 1 Poraniomorpha tartarus Deep-water sea star
20/07/23 IN2019_V04 1 Hamacantha (Vomerula) levii
Carnivorous sponge
12/07/23 IN2022_V08 1 Heterodontus marshallae Hornshark
17/05/23 IN2017_V03 1 Melinna hamulus Grapple worm
17/05/23 IN2017_V03 7 Aphelochaeta jubata
Aphelochaeta readi
Chaetocirratulus bathyalis
Chaetocirratulus glebalis
Chaetozone abyssalis
Chaetozone adusta
Kirkegaardia glabra
Polychaete worms
17/05/23 IN2017_V03 9 Ophryotrocha dahlgreni
Ophryotrocha hanneloreae
Ophryotrocha ravarae
Vrijenhoekia timoharai
Neanthes adriangloveri
Neanthes visicete
Orbiniella jamesi
Osedax waadjum
Osedax byronbayensis
Polychaete worms incl zombie worms
17/05/23 IN2017_V03 7 Asclerocheilus abyssalis
Axiokebuita australis
Oligobregma aristata
Oligobregma bathyala
Oligobregma profunda
Oligobregma renuncula
Pseudoscalibregma glandipodium
Polychaete worms
17/05/23 IN2017_V03 1 Spirodiscus ottofinamusi Tusk worm
17/05/23 IN2015_C01
8 Nothria delta
Nothria digitata
Nothria josae
Nothria simplex
Nothria minima
Nothria deltasigma
Nothria lizae
Nothria orensanzi
Polychaete worms
26/04/23 IN2017_V03
2 Boreomysis (Boreomysis) inopinata
Boreomysis (Petryashovia) urospina
Mysid crustaceans
3/04/23 IN2017_V03 1 Heterospio bidentata Polychaete worm
2/09/22 IN2015_C01
3 Comispira candida
Leucosyrinx jeedara
Leucosyrinx truwalamuka
Deep-water snail
8/04/22 IN2021_V03 1 Opechonoides opisthoporus Trematode (parasite)
16/03/22 IN2017_V03 1 Agathotanais oharai Shrimp-like crustacean
31/10/21 IN2017_V05 1 Chromis sahulensis Damselfish
10/08/21 IN2017_V05 1 Scorpaena sororreginae Western Queen Scorpionfish
2/07/21 IN2017_V05 1 Tosana dampieriensis Reef fish
24/03/21 IN2018_V06 1 Aurogorgia tasmaniensis Octocoral
24/02/21 IN2017_V03 55 Estimated number of new polychaete worms to be described from voyage Polychaete worms
21/02/21 IN2017_V03 1 Porcupinella tasmanica Octocoral
11/01/21 IN2017_V03 1 Abditoconus investigatoris Wood-boring bivalve
4/01/21 IN2019_V04 1 Lycopodina coralseaensis Carnivorous sponge
13/11/20 IN2017_C01 3 Nullarbora heptaxia
Abyssocladia oxyasters
Lycopodina hystrix
Carnivorous sponges
12/08/20 IN2017_V03 2 Melinnopsis gardelli
Melinnopsis chadwicki
Polychaete worms
3/08/20 IN2017_V03 2 Gesaia csiro
Phalacrostemma timoharai
Polychaete worms
12/05/20 IN2017_V03 17 Abyssocladia escheri
Abyssocladia annae
Abyssocladia gliscofila
Asbestopluma (Asbestopluma) maxisigma
Cladorhiza australis
Cladorhiza poritea
Cladorhiza investigator
Cladorhiza moniqueae
Cladorhiza pentaeiros
Chondrocladia (Chondrocladia) freycinetensis
Chondrocladia (Chondrocladia) callistemonex
Chondrocladia (Chondrocladia) zygainadentonis
Lycopodina nikitawimandi
Lycopodina helios
Lycopodina cassida
Lycopodina brochidodroma
Euchelipluma claudochela
Carnivorous sponges
20/12/19 IN2017_V03 3 Amphisbetia ramifera
Hebella macroplana
Lytocarpia parvispiralis
13/12/19 IN2017_V03 2 Epizoanthus australis
Epizoanthus gorgonus
30/10/19 IN2017_V03 1 Bouchetispira ponderi Deep-sea gastropod
1/07/19 IN2015_C01
37 Estimated number of new deep-sea crustaceans to be described from voyages Deep-sea crustaceans
10/06/19 IN2017_V03 2 Petta investigatoris
Petta williamsonae
Polychaete worms
4/06/19 IN2015_C01
1 Tethya irisae Deep-sea stalked sponge
15/05/19 IN2015_C02 1 Cymonomus triplex Deep-sea crab
15/05/19 IN2017_V05 1 Gymnapogon velum Cardinalfish
12/04/18 IN2016_V04 1 Pseudo-nitzschia hallegraeffii Diatom

Add your name to the list

Have you named a new species that we've missed? Please let us know so we can add you to the list. Researchers can submit a publication online via the MNF Reporting portal maintained by the NCMI Information and Data Centre.

Visit the NCMI Information and Data Centre

The NCMI Information and Data Centre (IDC) manages all data collected by the Marine National Facility, including via RV Investigator and other vessels.

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