A University of Alabama assistant professor says he may have discovered a new species during a two-week deep ocean exploration trip.

Kevin Kocot and 24 other early-career scientists recently went on the training cruise today. While there, they collected coral and other invertebrates, including what Kocot described as a strange, worm-shaped mollusk he believes is a new species.

Kocot said it’s been a life-changing adventure.

“It’s a really different experience to really be there and to see it, and to look out the porthole and say, ‘Oh, I want that one, that’s what we need to collect,’ ” he said. “So it was just a really life-changing experience for me and my research, and something I hope to take advantage of in the future to get some of these very precious but hard to reach deep sea samples.”

The trip was funded by the National Science Foundation. For more information, visit the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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