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In Antarctica, scientists discover 'hidden world' of creatures swimming under ice shelf

A climate change-related study ended in an element of surprise for a team of researchers from New Zealand.

June 09, 2022 / 10:26 AM IST
The Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. (Representational image)

The Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. (Representational image)

Scientists from New Zealand have recently discovered the existence of a world of marine life under an ice shelf in Antarctica, The Guardian reported.

The revelation happened when the team was observing an estuary, located hundreds of kilometres away from the Ross Ice Shelf -- the largest in Antarctica -- and what role it could have in melting of ice due to climate change.

For their study, the researchers bored into the ice. Their camera captured something unusual -- a large and dense group of tiny creatures.

“For a while, we thought something was wrong with the camera, but when the focus improved, we noticed a swarm of arthropods around 5mm in size,” Craig Stevens from New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospherics told The Guardian. “We’ve done experiments in other parts of the ice shelf and thought we had a handle on things, but this time big surprises were thrown up.”

Huw Horgan, the leader of the project, said studying the estuary was like entering a hidden world.

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His colleague Stevens said the team was overjoyed with the surprise discovery.

“We were jumping up and down because having all those animals swimming around our equipment means that there’s clearly an important ecosystem there," he was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
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first published: Jun 9, 2022 10:24 am
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