US researchers on mission to help protect Caribbean reefs, discover new species

Scientists with the Smithsonian Institution have discovered at least one new fish species at a deep reef off Curacao where they are conducting a yearlong project to gather data on temperature and biodiversity to monitor climate change effects in the Caribbean.

The discovery occurred in recent weeks off the southern edge of the Dutch Caribbean island as scientists used a submarine to explore depths up to 1,000 feet (305 meters).

Smithsonian research zoologist Dr. Carole Baldwin told The Associated Press on Thursday that the team is studying 25 to 30 other specimens of fish and invertebrates collected during the trip that they believe are new species.

She says data collected on temperatures and biodiversity will be used to help monitor and conserve Caribbean reefs.