Tuesday, 20 February 2024
-- Advertisement --
Liberty Club Level3 Divers24

Life found under the Antarctic ice sheet

An accidental discovery by marine biologists in Andarctic waters is shedding new light on our existing knowledge of organisms that inhabit icy waters. According to the team of scientists responsible for the accidental discovery of marine life on a boulder under the Antarctic ice shelf, it challenges the scientific world and our knowledge of how
Published: February 21, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:02
Life found under the Antarctic ice sheet

An accidental discovery by marine biologists in Andarctic waters is shedding new light on our existing knowledge of organisms that inhabit icy waters.

According to the team of scientists responsible for the accidental discovery of marine life on a boulder under the Antarctic ice shelf, it challenges the scientific world and our knowledge of how organisms can survive and function in environments far from sunlight.

Life found under the Antarctic ice sheet James Smith and Paul Anker of the British Antarctic Survey drilled through the 900-metre-high Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf and dropped a camera inside to look for mud on the seabed. Instead, to their great surprise they saw a boulder surrounded by representatives of the local fauna.

The footage probably shows 16 sponges accompanied by 22 other unidentified animals, including barnacles (a type of marine crustacean with a sedentary lifestyle). This is the first time such an “oasis” of life has been found under Antarctic ice.

There are many reasons why they shouldn’t be there,” said Huw Griffiths of the British Antarctic Survey, who was in charge of analysing the collected film footage.

He believes that the animals, which are probably filter feeders, can survive by carrying nutrients in water at -2°C. The problem is that they are extremely far from obvious sources of nutrients, given that the boulder is located 260km from open water at the front of the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf, where photosynthetic organisms can survive.

Interestingly, the researchers believe that the food of the discovered sponges is probably moving from even further away. Given what we know about the ocean currents in the area, the nearest source of sunlight upstream appears to be as far away as 600 kilometres!

Life found under the Antarctic ice sheet It is not yet known whether the creatures found are known to science, how long they live (some Antarctic glass sponges are over 10000 years old), or how often they feed. It could be once a year, once a decade, or even once every 100 years. However, it seems that the enclave of life discovered is no exception. The camera eye also captured one sponge on another rock nearby.

This discovery is hugely significant for our knowledge as it suggests that life, even in the harshest conditions in Antarctica, is more flexible and diverse than previously thought.

Scientists now want to study the found animals more closely, but given the distance and difficult accessibility to where they live, this will not be easy. One option being considered is miniature remote-controlled ROV robots that will be lowered into a borehole in the ice. Perhaps they will bring more answers to the long list of questions to the surface?

Other posts
Share:
Facebook
Telegram
LinkedIn
Twitter
Pinterest
WhatsApp

About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
-- Advertisement --
technical diver tuna hastberg mine
-- Advertisement --
Level3 Club CCR Divers24
Recent post
Roto Camera Mount – new interesting piece of gear from Seacraft
Polish Divers Achieve Remarkable Exploration Success in Italy's Elefante Bianco
Barotrauma – Diving Accidents and Consequences
Żibel Studio – The NGO with the Solution for the recycling of Ocean Plastics
Indian Celebrities Sonakshi Sinha and Zaheer Iqbal Team Up with PADI
Halcyon Launches New Warehouse Center in Poland
Science Under Ice: Polar Research Diving Courses
You haven't read yet
Polish Divers Achieve Remarkable Exploration Success in Italy's Elefante Bianco
Barotrauma – Diving Accidents and Consequences
Żibel Studio – The NGO with the Solution for the recycling of Ocean Plastics
Indian Celebrities Sonakshi Sinha and Zaheer Iqbal Team Up with PADI
Halcyon Launches New Warehouse Center in Poland
Science Under Ice: Polar Research Diving Courses

Search...

The Divers24 portal is currently the largest online medium treating diving in Poland. Since 2010 we have been providing interesting and important information from Poland and around the world on all forms of diving and related activities.

Contact us: info@divers24.com