However, this research is the first to detect the presence of stationary animals–like sponges and possibly several previously unknown species–attached to a boulder on the ocean ground.

“This discovery is just one of the lucky accidents that pushes thoughts in another way and reveals us that chilly marine life is extremely unique and incredibly adapted into a frozen universe,” states biogeographer and lead author, Dr. Huw Griffiths of British Antarctic Survey.

“Our discovery increases many more questions than it answers, like how did they arrive? What are you currently eating? How long are they there? How common are those boulders covered in existence? Are these the very same species as we watch away from the ice shelf or are they brand new species? And what could happen to those communities when the ice shelf collapsed?”

Floating ice shelves signify the best unexplored habitat from the Southern Ocean.

Present-day theories about what life can survive under ice packs imply that all life becomes much abundant as you go farther away from open water and sun. Past studies have discovered some tiny cell scavengers and predators, such as rats, fish, jellyfish or krill, in such habitats. But filter feeding organisms–that rely on a source of food from over –have been expected to be one of the very first to evaporate further beneath the ice.

Antarctica's Ice Shelves
Antarctica’s Ice Shelves

Therefore, it came as a surprise once the group of geologists, drilling through the ice to accumulate sediment samples, then hit a stone rather than sand in the base of the ocean beneath. They have been even more surprised by the movie footage, which revealed a big boulder covered in odd creatures.

New Antarctic expedition had

Here is the first record of a hard substrate (ie that a boulder) community profound beneath the ice shelf and it seems to go contrary to all previous notions of what kinds of life can survive there.

Considering that the water currents at the area, the researchers calculate that this community could possibly be as far as 1,500km upstream in the nearest source of photosynthesis. Other organisms are known to accumulate nutrients from glacial melts or compounds from methane seeps, but the investigators will not learn more about those organisms till they have the resources to gather samples of those organisms–a substantial challenge in itself.

“To answer our queries we might need to locate a method of becoming close with those creatures and their surroundings –and that is under 900 meters of ice hockey, 260km away in the boats at which our labs are,” proceeds Griffiths. “This implies that as polar scientists, we’re going to need to discover new and innovative techniques to examine them and reply each of the new questions we have.”

Griffiths and the staff also notice that using the weather crisis and the fall of those ice packs, time is running out to research and protect those ecosystems.

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