International efforts are being taken in Antarctica to construct long-term monitoring systems for ecological conservation in land and coastal organisms. For this, collection of fauna information from all over the continent is essential. And, Japan is lagging behind in this.
In 2015, a research team began studying marine specimens preserved at Japan's National Institute of Polar Research, to address this issue. In the process, they analyzed two annelid worms collected 8-9 meters deep from Antarctica near Japan’s Syowa Station on January 16, 1981.
They identified the specimen collected 8-meters deep as Flabegraviera mundata; and the one found 9-meters deep was an unnamed new annelid worm belonging to the species polychaete. It has a conspicuous, long notochaeta and a thick, gel-like coat. They have named it- Flabegraviera fujiae, after the icebreaker ship “Fuji” which was used in 1981 for the expedition.
"This study is a major step forward in understanding marine life in the coastal region near Syowa Station," says Dr. Keiichi Kakui, a researcher. "The Flabegraviera genus, to which the two species belong, is unique to the Antarctic and considered a good example for studying how polychaetes adapt to extreme environments" he adds.