New Delhi: The frigid and vast Antarctic sea, which may be stark and barren on the surface, has been hiding a breathtaking secret in its depths.
Sending a camera attached to a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) under the sea turned out to be a good idea on the part of Australian scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) after it revealed what it did.
The ROV robot was deployed under the sea ice at O’Brien Bay, near Casey research station in East Antarctica.
Who knew the Antarctic sea bed, so silent on the surface, could be holding such dynamic beauty within it? The footage retrieved revealed a colorful world filled with spidery starfish, coconut-shaped sponges, pink algae and dandelion-like worms.
The robot was retrieving a SeapHox pH data logger, which has been recording the acidity, oxygen, salinity and temperature of seawater on an hourly basis since November last year.
"When you think of the Antarctic coastal marine environment, the iconic species such as penguins, seals and whales usually steal the show," says Glenn Johnstone, an Australian Antarctic Division biologist.
"This footage reveals a habitat that is productive, colourful, dynamic and full of a wide variety of biodiversity, including sponges, sea spiders, urchins, sea cucumbers and sea stars," Science Alert reported.
And this actually fits perfectly! Penguins, seals, whales, polar bears are all laymen really know and could helplessly associate with the Antarctic region and this discovery has totally turned the tables!
As per the Daily Mail, these species found on the sea bed live in water that is -1.5 degrees Celsius (29.3 degrees Fahrenheit) year round and covered in 1.5 metres (nearly five feet) of sea ice for 10 months of the year.
These species, recorded near Australia's Casey research station, live in water that is -1.5 degrees Celsius (29.3 degrees Fahrenheit) year round and covered in 1.5 metres (nearly five feet) of sea ice for 10 months of the year.
The researchers are studying the acidity, oxygen, salinity, and temperatures of these waters, and this footage came as a welcome bonus.
According to Gizmodo, project leader Johnny Stark said, “Carbon dioxide is more soluble in cold water. Polar waters are acidifying at twice the rate of tropical or temperate regions, so we expect these ecosystems to be among the first impacted from ocean acidification.”
“Research shows the pink encrusting algae, known as crustose coralline algae, may decrease in extent in a more acidic future ocean, as it incorporates calcium into its structure, and this becomes harder for organisms to obtain as the acidity of the seawater increases,” he added.
Check out the stunning footage below:
(Video courtesy: AusAntarctic)