Plymouth and Oxford scientists in sea life conservation bid

Sealife Image copyright Deep Links Project
Image caption This octopus was voted the cutest marine life found by the crew

Scientists have been taking samples of deep-sea marine life to find new ways of conserving ocean species.

The team, from Plymouth and Oxford universities, have been based on the research ship James Cook for the last six weeks.

They say the genetic fingerprints of marine life could suggest how to identify areas which are most in need.

The research project called Deep Links found amazing sea life amongst a lot of manmade rubbish.

Image copyright Deep Links Project
Image caption The crew were exploring marine life below 200m

Deep Links researchers used a remotely-operated submarine to explore depths below 200m (656ft) around the North Atlantic and collect corals, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

Image copyright Anton Dohrn
Image caption A Giant Sea Spider found 1,200m (3,900ft) below the surface

They also found trawl marks, fishing line, trawling gear, tin cans and plastic cups.

Image copyright Deep Sea Links
Image caption This black coral is only a few metres high and 4,500 years old

Dr Kerry Howell, marine biologist from Plymouth University's School of Marine Science, said: "The sea provides lots of services to us, regulating climate and recycling nutrients and supporting our fisheries, so it's important that we manage this area well."

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