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An international group of researchers plans to compile an exhaustive list of marine diversity in a site in Southeast Asia, following the successful identification of 3,000 species of mollusc — more than are found in the entire Mediterranean — in just 5,000 hectares of ocean near the South Pacific island of Lifou.

Most of the molluscs were rare, and several hundred were previously unknown.

The project, known as INFOU 2000, was set up by the French Natural History Museum and the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) with funding from the TotalFina Elf oil company.

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