At least 12 species of crabs, prawns and lobsters collected from the deep seas in West Java are new to science. Another 40 are new records for Indonesia. Here are some of these strange and fascinating finds.
SINGAPORE: The expedition lasted two weeks. But it will take two years for the scientists to complete their studies of more than 12,000 specimens - some bizarre and new to science - hauled up from the bottom of the Sunda Strait and Indian Ocean.
These Indonesian waters off West Java had been largely unexplored by marine biologists until now. That changed in March, when a combined team from Singapore and Indonesia set out to sea.
“People have collected data off west of Sumatra, eastern parts of Indonesia and southeastern part of Java,” said Professor Peter Ng, head of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
“But for whatever reasons, the Sunda Strait in southwestern and southern Java were poorly collected. We had almost no information about the deep-sea animals living there.
So we thought, here’s a nice chance to fill the gap. We cannot conserve what we do not know.
Prof Ng, a well-known crab expert, led the 14-day South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition (SJADES 2018) with Professor Dwi Listyo Rahayu, a world authority on hermit crabs from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).
The research vessel with 31 scientists and support staff sailed from Jakarta towards Cilacap in southern Java and back, covering a total distance of 2,200km.