Scientists have just returned from a voyage with samples of rare animals and more than 10 possible new species in a trip which they say has revolutionised their thinking about deep-sea life in the Atlantic Ocean.
One group of creatures they observed - and captured - during their six weeks in the Atlantic  aboard the RRS James Cook  is believed to be close to the missing evolutionary link between backboned and invertebrate animals. Using the latest technology they also saw species in abundance that until now had been considered rare. Researchers were also surprised to discover such diversity in habitat and marine life in locations just a few miles apart.
Scientists were completing the last leg of MAR-ECO  - an international research programme, part of the Census of Marine Life, which is enhancing our understanding of the occurrence, distribution and ecology of animals along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Iceland and the Azores. The University of Aberdeen  is leading the UK contribution to the project which involves scientists from 16 nations. Key collaborators in the UK include Newcastle University  and the National Oceanography Centre .