From Independent Online (IOL):
The oceans are teeming with 10 to 100 more types of bacteria than previously believed, many of them unknown, according to a study released on Monday that has jolted scientists' understanding of evolution in the seas.
Using a new genetic mapping technique, United States, Dutch and Spanish scientists said they found more than 20 000 different types of microbe in a single litre of water from deep sites in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
There is a tendency to think of the ocean as mostly empty of life except for a few fish and such, but really it is a complex soup full of interlinked ecosystems. We don't know yet how it all fits together, but we do know it's important.
From a purely economical point of view, this new discovery is being seen as good news for pharmaceutical companies. According to the BBC, "Three-quarters of the top 150 prescription drugs in the US are lab versions of chemicals found in plants, fungi, bacteria and vertebrates".