A new species of nudibranch molluscs inhabiting the Sea of Okhotsk was discovered by Russian hydrobiologists during the long-term complex expedition "Eastern Bastion – the Kuril Ridge". The find will be named after the Russian Geographical Society. Anton Yurmanov, director of the Youth Work Department of the Russian Geographical Society, spoke about this during summing up the results of the 2021 expedition season.
The expeditionary project "Eastern Bastion – the Kuril Ridge", which started in 2019, provides for a comprehensive study of the Kuril Islands and the sea area around them. Representatives of almost all geographical and natural sciences participate in the work of the expedition. Such studies have not been carried out in the region since the 1960s.
Hydrobiology became a new direction for the expedition in 2021. Experts have conducted research on invertebrates, focusing on molluscs and echinoderms. Modern techniques and methods make it possible to replenish the fauna "catalog" of the seas of Russia with new species.
“This year, a group of hydrobiologists from the Zoological Museum of Moscow State University and the Institute of Developmental Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences worked with us. Alexander Martynov and Tatyana Korshunova discovered a new species of nudibranchs, which will be named after the Russian Geographical Society,” said Anton Yurmanov.
According to Yurmanov, the waters of the Sea of Okhotsk keep many more mysteries. In the water area near the island of Urup, where the expedition was working, the scientists noted "a unique level of endemism". The region is extremely interesting both for science and for ecological tourism. At the same time, local specific biosystems need protection, so the Russian Geographical Society plans to justify the creation of a specially protected natural area here.
“Having devoted the last season of the expedition to the Kurils to the survey of the interior territories of Urup, this year we decided to expand the study to the water area around the island. The last hydrobiological surveys were carried out here about 60 years ago, so it was important for us to get up-to-date data on the state of marine communities, see the changes. A group of hydrobiologists from the Zoological Museum of Moscow State University and the Institute of Developmental Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, with the assistance of professional divers-operators, carried out thorough work in a short time. As a result, in addition to species new to science, a high level of endemism was established. Such unique biodiversity should be protected. This is why now we are working on justifying the reconstruction of a specially protected natural area on Urup, which must include seascapes," added Yurmanov.