Curacao-owned research vessel & submarine Scientists say they found a new species of Basslet on Dominica’s Reefs
Curacao-owned, based and operated research vessel and submarine Scientists who are presently in Dominica, say they may have found a new species of Basslet on Dominica’s Reefs.
The discovery was reportedly made last week by Dr. Carole Baldwin of the Smithsonian Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) and her team. The Basslet is a small and colourful reef fish about an inch and a half (3.8 cm) long.
Dr. Carole Baldwin says she has studied Caribbean reef fishes her entire career, and as a taxonomist, she carefully studies the morphological (or physical) features of each species to better understand their evolution and biology. Scientists use characters like fin shape, colour pattern, bone structure, and scale counts to differentiate between species.
DROP researchers take a small sample of tissue from every specimen they collect, and back at the Smithsonian, DNA will be analysed. Many biodiversity scientists now use genetic information to help identify species, and in this case, the new genetic sample from the bicolour Basslet from Dominica will be compared to that previously obtained from the southern Caribbean.
The RV Chapman is on a month-long expedition to Dominica, and will explore deep reefs off the island in search of new species, and will also venture into reefs off the north-western coast of Dominica, to document and map known deep water anchorage sites, and possible archaeological findings.
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