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Message Icon Event: New Species of Moray Eel discovered in the Red Sea - Event Date: 23 Jan 2008 Post Reply Post New Topic
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Quote scubazine Replybullet Calendar Event: New Species of Moray Eel discovered in the Red Sea
    Posted: 23 Jan 2008 at 12:14
This species was discovered by Shai Einbinder during a fish course that was taking place at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences of Eilat (IUI). The specimen was fished from 200m depth near the edge of the deep coral reef. It was described by Shai and Eran Brokovich of the IUI, with the help of the fish taxonomist David Smith from the Smithsonian in Washington DC. They named the eel Gymnothorax Baranesi in tribute to Dr. Avi Baranes, one of the few people who have dedicated their career to research of the deep bottom of the Gulf of Aqaba, and described, together with Dr. Dani Golani (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) many new species of fish.

Surprise Discovery
This finding of a new species in only 200m in a well studied area stresses the importance of deep coral reef research. The fact that the new species was collected in an area that has been well studied for many years (and in fact, directly in front of a major marine laboratory) indicates how much we still have to learn about the marine habitat.

The IUI today harbours the MTRX – Marine Twilight-zone Research and Exploration. This facility promotes and supports the exploration of the deep coral reef. They currently own 4 closed circuit re-breathers and 5 full sets of technical diving equipment. Scientist and students of the IUI use the facility to explore and research down to depths of 100m. Shai Einbinder and Eran Brokovitch are PhD students who use the MTRX facility for PhD research. Amongst other things, they are looking for new species of fish and coral.

Moray Eels
Moray eels are a large and diverse family of eels found around the world in tropical and subtropical waters. Morays are common and frequently collected inhabitants of coral reefs, but many species live in offshore waters, where their cryptic habits make them difficult to collect. These specimens were collected from a depth of approximately 200 metres off Eilat, in the northern Red Sea. They could not be identified with any known species.
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