​New Species of Fungus Covers the Underwater Volcano of El Hierro Canary Islands Report | Canary Islands Report

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​New Species of Fungus Covers the Underwater Volcano of El Hierro

New Species of Fungus Covers the Underwater Volcano of El Hierro

The bacterium Thiolava veneris, which is currently covering the material that was deposited on the seabed off the island of El Hierro when the Tagoro Volcano erupted several years ago, is among the Top 10 species selected from the 18,000 new species discovered in 2017.

Along with the bacteria located in the Canary Islands, this year’s selection includes an immense 40 metre tree, the Dinizia jueirana-facao; a small unicellular organism, Acforacysta twista; two beetles, the orangutan Pongo tapanuliensis and the plant Sciaphila, which are already in critical danger of extinction, as well as the already extinct marsupial that lived 23 million years ago, Wakaleo shouteni.

Also, in the oceans, the abyssal fish Pseudoliparis swirei and the crustacean Epimeria Quasimodo have been discovered.

This list of species has been prepared by the committee led by Dr Quentin D Wheeler of the International Institute of Species Exploration IISE and coordinated by the researchers of the National Museum of Natural Sciences, Antonio Valdecasas. The objective of this list is to remember the importance of knowing and classifying biodiversity, while calling attention to the number of species that disappear each year, and estimated at around 20,000.

This report explained that when the Tagoro underwater volcano erupted off the coast of El Hierro in 2011, the water temperature rose sharply, oxygen decreased and massive amounts of carbon dioxide and sulphur were released. Hydrogen eliminated a large part of the marine ecosystem.

Three years later, the first settlers on the deposits left by the volcanic eruption were discovered. They are called Venus hair, and it is a bacterium that produces long, hair-like structures that, like carpet, cover an area of about 2000 square metres around the newly formed top of the Tagoro Volcano, which is about 130 metres high. It seems that this new species has unique metabolic characteristics that are suited to this environment.

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