SEOUL, March 18 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s oceans ministry said Thursday it has identified 123 new underwater species during a four-year investigation project aimed at building a detailed database of marine resources.
The number covers 54 species that were discovered for the first time in the world, along with 69 that were previously reported in other countries, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.
South Korea carried out investigations into its waters from 2017 to 2020 to build the database of marine creatures. Through the project, the country gathered samples of more than 3,000 species.
Among the new species found in local waters was Centrodinium punctatum, a type of algae, which marked the first discovery of its kind in the eastern Pacific since 1907.
The ministry said it hopes to apply poison extracted from the algae in the production of pharmaceutical goods, such as anesthetic drugs.
The country also discovered a new type of seahorse, dubbed “H. haema.” While it was previously considered the same type as the H. coronatus discovered in Japan in 1928, scientists said latest studies showed that it has clearly distinctive traits.