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under the (Antarctic) sea February 19, 2008

Posted by eyegillian in Antarctic, diversity, environment, explore, global warming, life, nature, world.
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Trunicates live at the bottom of the Antarctic SeaI’m always intrigued by news of new worlds being discovered – be that inner or outer space, this planet or another.

So I couldn’t resist the photographs of these giant poppy-like “tunicates”, creatures that look like glass tulips, and stand up a a metre tall on the bottom of the Antarctic Ocean. These plankton-eating animals, along with giant sea spiders the size of dinner plates and huge worms, were found 2,000 metres below the ocean’s surface by Australian scientists, who returned recently from two months in the region as part of the Collaborative East Antarctic Marine Census.

The expedition is part of an ambitious international effort to map life forms in the Antarctic Ocean, also known as the Southern Ocean, and to study the impact of forces such as climate change on the undersea environment. Scientists are planning a follow-up expedition in 10 to 15 years to examine the effects of climate changes on the region’s environment.

I find it amazing to see how life thrives in such a hostile environment, and I see it as a good sign for the future — a welcome respite from footage of shrinking ice-caps and fears of a world gone haywire from global warming. If only humans could learn to be so adaptable!

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Related Links:
Australian Antarctic Division: “Underwater world an eye-opener for scientists”
LiveScience Image Gallery: Alien Life of the Antarctic

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1. 47c2761467 - February 25, 2008

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