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SJTU PhD Student Named A New Marine Species Patrick Star

April 07, 2021      Author:

Recently, the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), an authoritative and comprehensive global database of names of marine organisms, released the list of "Ten Remarkable New Marine Species from 2020". The list, nominated by marine scientists worldwide, selects 10 most distinctive and wondrous new species from the nearly 2,000 new marine species discovered in 2020. Astrolirus Patricki Zhang Zhou, Xiao & Wang, 2020, a new species of deep-sea starfish discovered by a team of scientists from Second Institute of Oceanography under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and The Institute of Oceanology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, was shortlisted. This is the first time that a marine species discovered and named by Chinese scientists has made it to the list.

Astrolirus Patricki attached to a deep-sea sponge

This new species was discovered in the depths of the northwestern Pacific Ocean at locations 1.4 to 2.1 km below the ocean surface. According to Linnaeus' binomial nomenclature, Astrolirus is its genus name and Patricki is its species name. The name was given by Zhang Ruiyan, a 2019 PhD student at the School of Oceanography, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, under the supervision of Wang Chunsheng, a double-appointed faculty member at the School of Oceanography, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a researcher at the Key Laboratory of Marine Ecosystem Dynamics, Ministry of Natural Resources.

Commensalism and symbiosis between different species are not uncommon in the deep sea. All the specimens of the new starfish species were found perched on top of sponges, just like how SpongeBob and Patrick Star in the cartoon are a pair of inseparable 'buddies'. This leads us to wonder what factors influence the closeness between the two and whether it is an exclusive co-habitation relationship. To answer these questions, further observations and research will be needed in future deep-sea research.

Overall photo of a sample of Astrolirus Patricki

Zhang Ruiyan, a PhD student at the School of Oceanography, SJTU


Source: School of Oceanography, SJTU

Translated by: Chen Chen

Proofread by: Fu Yuhe