Presented by Beth Flaxman

PhD Candidate, University of Sydney

Supervisors: Dr Elena Kupriyanova (AM), Prof Simon Ho (USyd)

In October 2021, Beth Flaxman was one of 30 lucky scientists who travelled to the Indian Ocean onboard the CSIRO RV Investigator to sample deep seamount fauna. As well as being a fun adventure, these voyages contribute huge amounts of data in the form of species records that scientists and students are using in their taxonomic research. Her PhD focuses on the bathymetric distribution of deep-sea scale worms of the genus Laetmonice, for which ~100 specimens have been collected during voyages around South and East Australia between 2015 and 2018.

Recently (2021 and 2022), more specimens have been collected from seamounts in the Indian Ocean, near the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Most specimens are representatives of undescribed species, showing the extent of the undiscovered diversity in the deep sea! Beth's phylogeny shows eight new species, each restricted to a specific bathymetric zone (e.g., shallow, bathyal, abyssal).