The vast oceans of our planet hold secrets yet to be uncovered—secrets that could reshape our understanding of marine life. For centuries, scientists and oceanographers have explored the depths of the oceans, but despite their best efforts, the majority of the world’s ocean habitats remain unexplored.

According to Edith Widder, an oceanographer and deep-sea explorer, if the Earth’s oceans were the size of the island of Manhattan, then we would only explore the equivalent of one block, but only at the first floor level. With over 99.5% of the planet’s habitats still unexplored, scientists estimate that there could be millions of unknown species dwelling in the depths of the oceans. From the 13-meter-long carnivorous squid to tusked whales that avoid predatory orcas by dwelling at great depths, new species are still being documented every year. As deep-sea mining and climate change threaten to change the oceans’ ecosystems, the race to uncover these mysterious creatures has never been more urgent.

Despite centuries of ocean exploration, it can be difficult to determine how many unknown species still exist in the ocean’s depths. However, scientists such as Tammy Horton, a taxonomist, and ocean biodiversity researcher, use various methods to estimate the number of undiscovered species. These methods range from analyzing the number of known species in a particular habitat to predicting the number of unknown species based on environmental conditions and the characteristics of known species in the area. In conclusion, the depths of the oceans hold a wealth of secrets yet to be uncovered. With new methods of exploration, we are getting closer than ever to uncovering these secrets and reshaping our understanding of marine life.