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A quarter-century of deep-sea malacological exploration in the South and West Pacific: Where do we stand? How far to go?
Bouchet, P.; Héros, V.; Lozouet, P.; Maestrati, P. (2008). A quarter-century of deep-sea malacological exploration in the South and West Pacific: Where do we stand? How far to go?, in: Héros, V. et al. (Ed.) Tropical Deep-Sea Benthos 25. Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (1993), 196: pp. 9-40
In: Héros, V. et al. (Ed.) (2008). Tropical Deep-Sea Benthos 25. Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (1993), 196. Publications Scientifiques du Muséum: Paris. ISBN 978-2-85653-614-8. 805 + 1 cd-rom pp., more
In: Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (1993). Éditions du Muséum: Paris. ISSN 1243-4442, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Bouchet, P., more
  • Héros, V.
  • Lozouet, P.
  • Maestrati, P.

Abstract
    The Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD, formerly ORSTOM) and Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (MNHN) launched in the early 1980s a suite of oceanographic expeditions to sample the deep-water benthos of the tropical South and West-Pacific, with emphasis on the 100-1,500 m bathymetric zone. This paper reviews the development of this programme to date. It describes the procedures involved in curating the material collected and the involvement of an international network of taxonomic experts to identify, describe and name the molluscan fauna. So far, 1,028 species of molluscs have been recorded from the New Caledonia Exclusive Economic Zone from depths below 100 m, and 601 of these (58.4%) were new species. An additional 142 new species have been described from other South Pacific island groups (Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, Tonga, Marquesas Islands and Austral Islands). However, the hyper-diverse families have essentially remained untouched. Regional differences among island groups are high, and New Caledonia, which has been sampled best, shows several discrete areas of micro-endemism. We speculate that the deep-sea mollusc fauna of New Caledonia may amount to 15-20,000 species, and the corresponding number for the whole South Pacific may be in the order of 20-30,000 species.

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