Turkish professor discovers tiny underwater organisms

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A Turkish professor has discovered seven new species of ostracods — tiny organisms which live under water.

Okan Kulkoyluoglu conducted research in spring waters of the city of San Marcos, Texas, in the U.S. for a year.

He was assisted by assistant professors Benjamin F. Schwartz and Benjamin T. Hutchins from Texas State University.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Kulkoyluoglu said he collected samples from the main spring of an artesian well in Texas.

In the samples, he discovered seven species that are smaller than one millimeter.

He added that his research has been published in respected international journals.

“We also identified at least 15-20 new genuses and organisms at higher taxonomic ranks. Studies on these are ongoing. We are thinking about publishing them soon,” Kulkoyluoglu said.

‘There are 160 species in Turkey’

Kulkoyluoglu, who serves on the faculty at Abant Izzet Baysal University in Bolu, Turkey, said that he specializes in freshwater ostracods, which have inhabited earth for 500 million years.

He added that so far, 70,000 species of the organism have been discovered.

Of the 2,000 freshwater species, 160 are found in Turkey, he said, adding that the number could be much higher.

Speaking about his discovery, he said: "Almost none of them have eyes. Their size is suitable for their underground habitat."

He said they may be used to assist efforts for oil exploration.

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