Scientists have teased us with a look beneath the sea ice of the Antarctic waters as they released a video showcasing their potentially unexpected diversity.
Antarctica would not seem to be the most diverse continent in terms of flora. The region is mostly known for its fauna. It is the home of such animals as penguins, seals, and possibly whales. This is because most of its land mass is covered by ice sheets and caps.
However, the Artic coastal marine environment has come with quite a surprise. The sea ice Antarctic waters have revealed a colorful, productive environment inhabited by a rich biodiversity.
A team of researchers is behind the recent reveal. They are part of the Australian Antarctic Division. The scientists obtained the images with the help of an ROV. ROVs are Remotely Operated Vehicles.
Such a device was equipped with a camera. It was then deployed in the O’Brien Bay. The East Antarctica-based Casey research station is situated near the aforementioned bay.
The Antarctic waters exploration program was initiated in November 2015. It has been on-going ever since. It’s already helped reveal quite a base of valuable data.
Besides a camera, the scientists also equipped the ROV with other devices. These helped them obtain further information. The ROV retrieved a SeapHox.
This pH data logger carried out hourly reports of the following properties. The seawater’s acidity, salinity, temperature, and oxygen levels were recorded.
An Australian Antarctic Division biologist, Dr. Glenn Johnstone, went to offer details. They were released in a Department of the Environment and Energy, Australian Antarctic Division of the Australian Government statement.
His declarations also included a video. This helped offer us all an unexpected glimpse into the Antarctic water.
Johnstone explained that sea ice acts as a sort of protection. It helps protect the Antarctic waters population of the storms that might rage above them.
As such, it makes up for a quite stable habitat and environment. This, in turn, can advantage the flourishing and development of the local biodiversity.
Nonetheless, there still are a few dangers. According to Johnstone, an iceberg may occasionally move around. This position change may sometimes potentially wipe out a local biodiversity.
But aside from this, the area is quite protected and free to flourish. The Antarctic waters communities are protected by a 1.5 meters thick layer of sea ice. This is maintained for about 10 months throughout the year.
The waters were registered to an average temperature of -1.5 degrees Celsius. This temperature was registered year round.
This also ensures the Antarctic waters thriving and colorful world. Various species were noted to inhabit the area. They include sea cucumbers, sponges, and sea spiders. Starfish and algae were also detected in the filming. These species live at an approximate 30 meters below the water surface.
Further Antarctic studies will be carried out. The Australian Antarctic Program was established with quite an exact plan.
It set out to determine the effects of ocean acidification. This will be studied in relation to the sea-floor communities of the Southern Ocean floor. Further research will study the impact of the increasing levels of carbon dioxide emissions on such habitats.
The carbon dioxide emissions increase was noted to cause a rise in the ocean acidification. According to the Australian researchers, the Antarctic waters could be amongst to suffer from the effects of such an event.
As it is, the scientists will be working hard in order to ensure that this doesn’t happen. They have set out to understand, protect, and continue to value the area’s natural biodiversity.
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