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New Species Confirmed At Rockall Deep Ocean Gas Vent

28th December 2013
New Species Confirmed At Rockall Deep Ocean Gas Vent

#MarineWildlife - Four new species of marine wildlife have been discovered off Rockall, as the Guardian reports.

It was a bonus Christmas present for marine scientists in Scotland who've announced that a handful of the array of deep ocean creatures found at the 'cold seep' methane gas vent in the North Atlantic - namely a large sea snail and two clams - have been confirmed as species new to science.

One of the clams, Thyasira scotiae, and the sea snail Volutopsius scotiae have been named after the research vessel MRV Scotia, while the clam Isorropodon mackayi is named in tribute to mollusc expert David Mackay. A marine worm also discovered is as yet unnamed pending examination.

As previously reported on, the Rockall vent and its surrounds were discovered by scientists last year and since explored on a number of occasions - their findings prompting the International Convention on the Exploration of the Seas to recommend a ban on fishing in the area around the Rockall basin, 260 miles west of the Hebrides.

The new discoveries come in the same year as Irish researchers celebrate the discovery of an amazing new undersea world in the Whittard Canyon on the Irish Atlantic margin, containing larger than average molluscs that may be up to 200 years old.

Published in Marine Wildlife
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!