Scientists will use a robot to probe the darkest depths of the Great Barrier Reef in a search for marine "dinosaurs" previously thought to be extinct. An international team of researchers left Townsville yesterday to embark on a $500,000 three-week voyage exploring marine life living at depths of up to 1000m on the undersea slopes of the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea. Most scientific knowledge of marine life living on the Reef is limited to 30m.
It is hoped discoveries may lend themselves to biomedical breakthroughs, and help authorities make more informed decisions about managing the marine park.
The 15 scientists are drawn from three German universities, James Cook University, the University of Queensland and the Queensland Museum.
The scientific team will deploy their robotic underwater Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) in their attempt to find out more about the living relics of animals only found in the fossil record. These include sponges, the squid-like Nautilus, cold water corals, lamp shells, and relatives of star fish.
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