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Jul 13, 2018 - Science and innovations
New species of sea creatures was named in honor of FEFU biology scientist

A new species of marine creatures—nemerteans (marine worms)—was named in honor of Professor Alexey Chernyshev, School of Natural Sciences, Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU). Living in the sand nemertean Ototyphlonemertes chernyshevi Kajihara et al was first described by a group of Japanese researchers led by scientist Hiroshi Kajihara. The article was published in the Proceedings of the Japanese Society of Systematic Zoology.

It's the fourth species of creatures named in honor of the Professor of the FEFU Department of Aquatic Biodiversity and Marine Bioresources Alexey Chernyshev. Aenigmastyletus alexei (nudibranch mollusc), Vemakylindrus chernyshevi (cumacean crustacean), and Coriella chernyshevi are also named after him.

“It is difficult to say why species are named in honor of some people and are not named in honor of others. But if this happens, it is considered very honorable. It is like your monument has been erected during your lifetime,” said Alexei Chernyshev. “The species that Carl Linnaeus described 300 years ago, naming them in someone's honor, are still relevant today, and now scientists know and use their Latin names. For example, the world's largest water lily Victoria was named in honor of Queen Victoria. People, who are knowledgeable in the matter, highly appreciate such things.”

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The scientist notes that it is still difficult to predict the practical significance of the new species, its biological potential and its subsequent application.

“When they described the Drosophila fly, no one could have imagined that it would be used for genetic purposes,” Alexei Chernyshev reminded. “Researchers from other fields of science can use certain species to identify new substances or to conduct environmental monitoring. In 1992, I described one species of nemerteans, and now my colleague investigates the toxin inherent to it, which is of interest to pharmacology.”

A new kind of nemerteans, named after the FEFU scientist, is widely distributed and inhabits the coastal sand of the tropical zone. These nemerteans are very small, and can hardly be used to isolate new substances. However, said Alexei Chernyshev, due to their large quantities, they can be useful for monitoring environmental processes.