New Zealand and Japanese scientists have discovered an environment rich in life deep under the sea about a 1000 kms northeast of New Zealand.
Scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), GNS Science and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology have undertaken a joint research voyage to explore the Louisville Seamount Chain and the northern Kermadec Arc.
Diving to depths of more than 2000 metres, the researchers uncovered a variety of creatures, including sponges, corals, lobsters, crabs, starfish, sea cucumbers and fish.
Principal scientist at NIWA Malcom Clark says the dives are the first detailed biological investigation of the area.
Dr Clark says samples collected have been split between New Zealand and Japanese scientists for study.