Scientists Discover 77 New Species of Marine Life Hidden Beneath Antarctica’s Ice

As ancient ice shelves continue to melt in the face of climate change, we have a window to peek into the past with relics of a bygone era.

With climate change now a grim reality of our planet Earth, we may finally learn more about Antarctica’s floating ice shelves. With the discovery by researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, it appears Antarctica’s ice shelves have a more diverse life than previously thought..

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A whopping 77 new species

At least 77 species living on the seabed have been discovered by this team of scientists, highlighting how little we know about life on Earth.

Published earlier this month in Current Biology, the research found 77 species in one place. This means that we have now discovered new species in one place on an ice shelf than we have ever done on all ice shelves on the continent.

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Two holes were drilled into the Weddell Sea Ekström ice shelf and specimens from the seafloor were extracted in 2018. According to a press release from the British Antarctic Survey, the biodiversity there was “richer than many samples of open water found on the continental shelf where there is light”. and food sources. »

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Of the 77, at least four species showed annual growth rates “comparable to small animals” that inhabit open-water habitats.

Among the sea creatures identified by the researchers are invertebrates called bryozoans and serpulid worms that form colonies and sit in one place on the seabed, calling themselves “suspension feeders.” Everything that happens to them is then consumed, as well as the nutrients from the algae under the ice floes.

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Scientists have also found remains of dead animals. Based on carbon dating, they found the remains to be up to 5,800 years old. This suggests that the Antarctic Ice Shelf ecosystem is extremely ancient.

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Did you know that Antarctica is home to such diverse life? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. For more in the world of technology and sciencekeep reading


Hicks, J. (2021, December 29). Scientists discover an unexpected treasure trove of life forms under the Antarctic sea ice. The edge.

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