New species found in last frontier
Monika Schlacher-Hoelinger with a sponge at Echuca Shoal. Picture: WA Museum

New species of barnacle and crab, corals never before seen in Australian waters and sponges containing chemicals that can be used to make cancer drugs have been uncovered during a marine survey of the Kimberley.

The WA Museum-led project studied the region for 2½ weeks in October as part of a study that will run until 2015.

Museum senior project officer Clay Bryce said it would take at least 12 months to collate what had been collected.

The visit was the second of four field trips to the region and included surveys from White Island to Jameson Reef, Browse Island and two isolated shoals.

Mr Bryce said divers found something new on every trip.

"In fact, we find new species at such a high rate that we can't put names on them, we have to put numbers on them at the moment," he said. "We just don't have time to describe them and put a proper name on them because there's just too many."

Mr Bryce said he believed there was still more species to be found.

"It really is Australia's, if not one of the world's, last frontiers for biological science."

The West Australian

Popular videos

Our Picks

Follow Us

More from The West