Preserving marine biodiversity for the sake of cognitive benefits is important. New marine species and even entire communities continue to be discovered. Hydrothermal vents were discovered only in 1976 after an expedition on the Alvin submersible. Concurrent with recent marine ecosystem discoveries is the detection of new species. In the open ocean, a group of marine free-living bacterial primary producers (prochlorophytes) were not discovered until the late 1980s, despite that fact that they account for almost 40% of the chlorophyll in some ocean areas. Little is presently known about marine microbes but molecular techniques are gradually assisting science in understanding these very integral components of marine food webs. Microbes are extremely essential in the biogeochemical cycling of many nutrients and they are responsible for much of the recycling of organic matter in the sea.
Discovery of new species and of species' characteristics can provide new information of use to technological development. For example, research on the sea mouse, Aphrodite, showed that its spines have a remarkable capacity for reflecting light, a property that may be of use in the development of new communication technologies.