Scientists urged to use Samoan names for rare deep water finds

Newly discovered creatures found in the deep waters of American Samoa may be given Samoan names.

American research ship the Okeanos Explorer is on an expedition filming the little known ocean depths of the territory's conservation areas.

More than 180 scientists have been viewing a live stream of images and commenting on whether the corals, fish, and other organisms they can see are new species.

Expedition Co-ordinator Kelley Elliot said scientists would be encouraged to give any rare finds Samoan names.

"In order for the potential new species to be officially determined, scientists have to work with those samples back on shore and the way that our operation works we collect those samples and make them publicly available through a repository where any scientist can ask to work with them and do that official description."

Another scientist with expedition Santiago Herrera said because of the detailed analysis needed it could take up to two years before some of the species are named.

"A lot of the images we see, you might think it's a new species, but there first needs to be a whole process of analysis and detailed comparisons with other known species," said Dr Herrera.


Photo: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (A Venus flytrap anemone perched on top of a dead Iridogorgia coral, closes up as the remotely operated vehicle approaches).