11 new species of crustaceans found in the place where they want to extract shale gas

There are not many parts of the world where you can find a completely new accumulation of living things. But after selection

groundwater samples in a remote dry areaIn northern Australia, scientists have discovered at least 11, and possibly more, new species of stygofauna. The largest animal found is a shrimp called Parisia unguis. Its size does not exceed 20 mm and, probably, this organism is the top predator of the discovered community. Its presence points to a complex food chain in the Stygofauna communities of the Beetaloo Valley and Reservoir.

The underground fauna that scientists have collected fromaquifers NT, including a number of species unknown to science. A - C: atid shrimp including Parisia unguis; DF: Amphipods of the family Melitidae; G: syncarid species Brevisomabathynella sp.; HJ: members of the ostracod family Candonidae; K: harpacticoid species Nitokra lacustris; L: a new species of snail from the family Caenogastropoda: MN: members of the family Cyclopidae copepods; O: Aeolosoma sp. Photo: GISERA, provided by the author

Stigofauna is any fauna found in groundwater systems or aquifers.

Bitalu animals, new genera and species of crustaceans,differ from the stygofauna recorded in the more studied aquifers of Western Australia. The results of the study published by CSIRO confirm that the aquifers of the Northern Territory are the source of life for a variety of Stygofauna species. Crustaceans - shrimps, amphipods, ostracods, copepods and syncarids - predominated in all selected communities of the Bialu stygofauna.

CSIRO scientist Gavin Rees Ph.D. stated,that the presence of the same stygofauna species in distant areas in the Cambrian limestone aquifer may indicate high connectivity within the aquifer. This needs to be taken into account in light of proposals for shale gas development. The CSIRO Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance is now conducting further research to quantify the risk of pollution impacts on stygofauna from potential industrial spills.

Professor Jenny Davis of CDU stressed that the stigofauna was a critical factor in climate change, moving underground as the surface waters of ancient inland Australia dried up.

Some of these crustaceans have never been encountered before. There are not so many places in the world where it would be possible to find many new animals together at once.

Professor Jenny Davis of CDU

In August and October 2019, researchers fromCSIRO and the University's Environment and Life Science Institute collected samples from 26 groundwater wells and two springs approximately 500 km from the subtropical region of Mataranka in the north to the semi-arid Barkley Plateau in the south.

In addition to fishing rods and nets, researchers alsoused water pumps and state-of-the-art DNA analysis to detect the presence of known and unknown stygofauna in groundwater samples. The results of the study are important to inform policy and management responses to shale gas proposals.

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Northern Territory -territory of Australia, a federal subject of Australia, in the north of the mainland of the country, the status is slightly lower than that of the state. Bordered by Western Australia to the west, South Australia to the south and Queensland to the east, includes Alexandra Land.

An aquifer or aquifer is a sedimentary rock, represented by one or more interbedded underground layers of rocks with varying degrees of water permeability.