Deep Sea Creatures June 27, 2007Posted by Mrs Weird Scientist in Deep Sea, Easy As Pie, Evolution, Marine Life, Ocean.
Deep, deep, deep into the dark icy waters around Antarctica is a lively and peculiar bundle of marine life. Carnivorous sponges, crustaceans and wiggling worms all bring life into these shivering depths. Researchers have recently discovered nearly 700 new sea creatures. It’s a surprising find because around these desolate and freezing parts, the conditions are really aggressive. Scientists hadn’t anticipated that all of these strange and interesting life forms would exist.
The discovery of these magnificent sea creatures is part of ANDEEP, which stands for Antarctic Benthic Deep Sea Biodiversity Project. It’s a bit of a long name for a project but it’s certainly a fitting one! ANDEEP is one of the first studies that really looks at marine life in Antarctica.
Between 2002 and 2005, three research expeditions took place and tens of thousands of samplings from the ocean were taken. They managed to find over 1000 species, with most being new, previously undiscovered life forms.
Leading the whole expedition was Angelika Brandt from the University of Hamburg in Germany. She was curious to uncover the mysteries of the Southern Ocean. Although Angelika and her team had expected to find some interesting new species, they hadn’t expected to find such a diverse range of deep sea creatures!
It’s Cool But Is That It?
Not quite. Sure it’s exciting to find new life forms, especially when they just plain old look nifty but there’s more to it than that. Finding new species can tell us a lot about evolution. Scientists can now look at the species surviving in the shallower waters around Antarctica to learn how the weather and environment led to evolutionary changes.
Not For Your Home Aquarium
If only I could have these curious swimmers in my home aquarium! I think, however, that these deep sea species will happily remain in their cold, shady home in the Southern Ocean. For now, I will have to make do with my little goldfish.
Credits: Images are from the British Antarctic Survey and Wiebke Brokeland as shown online in New Scientist.