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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.

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.

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!

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 20152017 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: 92 new species described

New species list

DATE (PUBLISHED) VOYAGE SPECIES COUNT SPECIES NAME COMMON NAME PUBLICATION DOI
 8/11/23 IN2017_V03  5 Radiella nidula
Radiella pumix
Spinularia flagellata
Tentorium labium
Ridleia echidna
Deep-water sponges  https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.5369.1.3 
22/09/23 IN2017_V03 1 Poraniomorpha tartarus Deep-water sea star https://doi.org/10.24199/j.mmv.2023.82.06
20/07/23 IN2019_V04 1 Hamacantha (Vomerula) levii
Carnivorous sponge https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.5318.3.4
12/07/23 IN2022_V08 1 Heterodontus marshallae Hornshark https://doi.org/10.3390/d15070849
17/05/23 IN2017_V03 1 Melinna hamulus Grapple worm https://doi.org/10.3853/j.2201-4349.75.2023.1803
17/05/23 IN2017_V03 7 Aphelochaeta jubata
Aphelochaeta readi
Chaetocirratulus bathyalis
Chaetocirratulus glebalis
Chaetozone abyssalis
Chaetozone adusta
Kirkegaardia glabra
Polychaete worms https://doi.org/10.3853/j.2201-4349.75.2023.1799
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 https://doi.org/10.3853/j.2201-4349.75.2023.1800
17/05/23 IN2017_V03 7 Asclerocheilus abyssalis
Axiokebuita australis
Oligobregma aristata
Oligobregma bathyala
Oligobregma profunda
Oligobregma renuncula
Pseudoscalibregma glandipodium
Polychaete worms https://doi.org/10.3853/j.2201-4349.75.2023.1827
17/05/23 IN2017_V03 1 Spirodiscus ottofinamusi Tusk worm https://doi.org/10.3853/j.2201-4349.75.2023.1801
17/05/23 IN2015_C01
IN2015_C02
IN2017_C01
IN2017_V03
8 Nothria delta
Nothria digitata
Nothria josae
Nothria simplex
Nothria minima
Nothria deltasigma
Nothria lizae
Nothria orensanzi
Polychaete worms https://doi.org/10.3853/j.2201-4349.75.2023.1802
26/04/23 IN2017_V03
IN2018_V06
2 Boreomysis (Boreomysis) inopinata
Boreomysis (Petryashovia) urospina
Mysid crustaceans https://doi.org/10.3853/j.2201-4349.75.2023.1845
3/04/23 IN2017_V03 1 Heterospio bidentata Polychaete worm https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.5260.1.1
2/09/22 IN2015_C01
IN2015_C02
IN2017_C01
IN2017_V03
IN2018_V06
3 Comispira candida
Leucosyrinx jeedara
Leucosyrinx truwalamuka
Deep-water snail https://doi.org/10.1080/13235818.2022.2102887
8/04/22 IN2021_V03 1 Opechonoides opisthoporus Trematode (parasite) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11230-022-10034-8
16/03/22 IN2017_V03 1 Agathotanais oharai Shrimp-like crustacean https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.741536
31/10/21 IN2017_V05 1 Chromis sahulensis Damselfish https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5601971
10/08/21 IN2017_V05 1 Scorpaena sororreginae Western Queen Scorpionfish https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-021-00827-0
2/07/21 IN2017_V05 1 Tosana dampieriensis Reef fish https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4996.1.2
24/03/21 IN2018_V06 1 Aurogorgia tasmaniensis Octocoral https://doi.org/10.1071/IS20066
24/02/21 IN2017_V03 55 Estimated number of new polychaete worms to be described from voyage Polychaete worms https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.1020.57921
21/02/21 IN2017_V03 1 Porcupinella tasmanica Octocoral https://doi.org/10.3897%2Fzookeys.1019.61789
11/01/21 IN2017_V03 1 Abditoconus investigatoris Wood-boring bivalve https://doi.org/10.1080/13235818.2020.1861681
4/01/21 IN2019_V04 1 Lycopodina coralseaensis Carnivorous sponge https://doi.org/10.17082/j.2204-1478.62.2021.2020-06
13/11/20 IN2017_C01 3 Nullarbora heptaxia
Abyssocladia oxyasters
Lycopodina hystrix
Carnivorous sponges https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4878.2.2
12/08/20 IN2017_V03 2 Melinnopsis gardelli
Melinnopsis chadwicki
Polychaete worms https://doi.org/10.3853/j.2201-4349.72.2020.1763
3/08/20 IN2017_V03 2 Gesaia csiro
Phalacrostemma timoharai
Polychaete worms https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4821.3.4
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 https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4774.1.1
20/12/19 IN2017_V03 3 Amphisbetia ramifera
Hebella macroplana
Lytocarpia parvispiralis
Hydroids https://doi.org/10.24199/j.mmv.2019.78.04
13/12/19 IN2017_V03 2 Epizoanthus australis
Epizoanthus gorgonus
Cnidarians https://doi.org/10.1080/14772000.2019.1693439
30/10/19 IN2017_V03 1 Bouchetispira ponderi Deep-sea gastropod https://doi.org/10.1080/13235818.2019.1681626
1/07/19 IN2015_C01
IN2015_C02
IN2017_C01
IN2017_V03
37 Estimated number of new deep-sea crustaceans to be described from voyages Deep-sea crustaceans https://doi.org/10.24199/j.mvsr.2019.21
10/06/19 IN2017_V03 2 Petta investigatoris
Petta williamsonae
Polychaete worms https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4614.2.3
4/06/19 IN2015_C01
IN2015_C02
1 Tethya irisae Deep-sea stalked sponge https://doi.org/10.5852/ejt.2019.529
15/05/19 IN2015_C02 1 Cymonomus triplex Deep-sea crab https://doi.org/10.3853/j.2201-4349.71.2019.1682
15/05/19 IN2017_V05 1 Gymnapogon velum Cardinalfish https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2854383
12/04/18 IN2016_V04 1 Pseudo-nitzschia hallegraeffii Diatom https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0195622

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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