National Marine Sanctuaries
  40 Years of Sanctuaries - Top 40 Accomplishments 

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#7 2011
A Whole New Kettle of Fish (and Tunicates and Sponges and Birds…):
Discovering and Protecting New Species in Sanctuaries

In 2011, a new species of bird, Bryan's shearwater, was described by Dr. Peter Pyle in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, the first new species of bird discovered in the U.S. since the 1970s. This followed on the discovery of a new species of butterflyfish in 2010 and seven new species of deep sea gorgonian corals in 2008. These finds go to prove there is still much left to explore and discover on Planet Ocean.

Exploration, research, and monitoring in sanctuaries has led to numerous discoveries of new species and new ecosystem processes. New sponges and nudibranchs were found in early Cordell Bank expeditions, and 18 new species have been found on Davidson Sea Mount in Monterey Bay. A new shrimp and fish were discovered in Flower Garden Banks in 1997 and 2001 respectively. More recently, in 2008, two new sponges and one new nudibranch were discovered in Olympic Coast, and two new species of tunicates in Gray’s Reef. Even new habitats have been found: mud volcanoes with associated gas seeps have been discovered near Flower Garden Banks, representing a previously unknown mechanism for creating shallow water hard substrates.

The sheer diversity of life here on Planet Earth, both on land and in the sea, is incredible. Learn more about your favorite species and discover a few new ones.

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More information about expeditions of discovery in the sanctuary system