Friday, February 22, 2008

Antarctica is all Cold Comfort!

'specially for these new deep sea species found!

The stalked structures looking like glass tulips are actually animals known as tunicates. They are early colonisers of areas recently disturbed by ice-berg scouring. They filter food particles from the water by pumping it through an internal mesh structure and the stalk is supported by hydrostatic pressure created by their pump. Feather stars (crinoids), sea cucumbers (holothurians) and another species of tunicate have used the stalked tunicates to gain height to give them an advantage in intercepting food particles from the water before it reaches the sea-bed. The sediment surface is covered with a mass of tubes, probably of small polycheate worms.

600m down a canyon leading off the front of the continental shelf - This is one of the most diverse sites sampled during the CEAMARC voyage. The main structural components are the brightly coloured coralline bryozoans and sponges, which create a habitat for many other species including brittle stars, octopus, molluscs and fish. Although in a different biological group from the tropical corals, the coralline bryozoans have similar calcium carbonate skeletons and are particularly susceptible to ocean acidification caused by rising CO2 levels because calcium carbonate becomes more soluble with increasing acidity.

SO COOL I'm putting it in the Scifi label...

For more info & VIDEO click here!! via

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