CORAL REEF TWILIGHT ZONE DIVING EXPEDITION

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The 16-day Coral Reef Twilight Zone diving expedition, now underway in Palau, already has discovered 21 previously unknown species of marine life, including a metallic-blue damselfish.

Divers involved in the expedition, organized by Hawaii's Bishop Museum in cooperation with the Palau-based Coral Reef Research Foundation, are exploring Palau reef areas at depths of 500 feet or more, using advanced diving equipment called "rebreathers."

The ocean at this depth, where sunlight penetration ends, is known as the Twilight Zone.

From this point, the water then plummets into perpetual blackness.

Diver Richard Pyle reports that he collected three apparently new species of wrasses yesterday. While diving, he also encountered several gray reef sharks as well as a huge dog-toothed tuna which, he said, was much bigger than the sharks. They all passed each other without incident.

The current species collecting expedition in Palau ends May 19. Some of the results will be included in a Bishop Museum presentation in Honolulu, titled Ocean Planet, beginning May 24 and continuing through October 5.

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