An extraordinary invention. Scientists first observed creatures living in the depths of Antarctica when they led a voyage to the British Antarctic Survey.
The purpose is to collect sediment from the ocean to study the history of pack ice. By drilling ice at a depth of 900 meters into the Fletcher-Ronnie ice barrier in the Southern Ocean, they were able to observe unknown creatures, especially those living in hostile environments. In addition to very low temperatures, the complete absence of light makes photosynthesis impossible.
“This discovery pushes ideas in another direction and is one of the happiest accidents that shows that Antarctic marine life is incredibly special and incredibly relevant to the frozen world,” commented oceanographer Hu Griffiths, the lead author of the study. Monday dans Marine science boundaries.
An important discovery
This is a particularly important discovery because we were able to observe stable and seamless life forms (a support, fixed to reference) such as sponges living in such places. Thus, scientists were able to observe 15 sponges attached to a rod, a sponge attached directly to a rock, and 22 as yet unidentified creatures.
This finding calls into question the current theories of survival in extreme conditions, as researchers explain. “Our discovery raises more questions than can be answered, namely how they got there? What did they eat? How long have they been there? How common are these rocks covered by life? Are they the same species we see outside the ice shelf or are they new creatures? If the ice shelf collapses these communities what will happen? “
New trips will take place in the coming months to better understand how these creatures are able to survive. “To answer our questions, we need to find a way to get closer to these animals and their environment – which is 900 meters below the ice, 260 km from the ships where our laboratories are located,” the scientists explain in the article. This means that as polar scientists we need to find new and innovative ways to study them and answer all the new questions we ask. “
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