A beautiful, underwater world has been discovered in one of the coldest parts of the globe, after a robot delved deep into the frozen Antarctic ocean.
The Australian Antarctic Division drilled down through thick ice, creating a hole just big enough for a robot to slip through, the Telegraph reported.
Crazy crustaceans and out-of-this-world type creatures were found in all sorts of colours deep below the surface, giving scientists a better insight into what lies in the depths of the frozen sea.
The bizarre life-forms were filmed near Australia’s Casey research station and inhabit waters of a teeth-chattering -1.5 degrees Celsius all year long.
You wouldn’t think these exotic species would be able to survive in temperatures that low, but on top of that, they endure being covered in five feet of ice for ten months of the year.
The scientists believe they are only just starting to understand the mysterious eco-system that survives in freezing waters and believe the ice actually plays a part in keeping everything alive.
Scientist at the division, Glenn Johnstone, described the discovery they made.
When you think of the Antarctic coastal marine environment, the iconic species such as penguins, seals and whales usually steal the show.
This footage reveals a habitat that is productive, colourful, dynamic and full of a wide variety of biodiversity, including sponges, sea spiders, urchins, sea cucumbers and sea stars.
The marine-experts are currently studying the impact of acidity, due to increasing carbon dioxide emissions on the Southern Ocean seabed.
His colleague Dr Johnny Stark remarked:
Occasionally an iceberg may move around and wipe out an unlucky community, but mostly the sea ice provides protection from the storms that rage above, making it a relatively stable environment in which biodiversity can flourish.
Carbon dioxide is more soluble in cold water and polar waters are acidifying at twice the rate of tropical or temperate regions.
So we expect these ecosystems to be among the first impacted from ocean acidification.
Here’s the full video footage:
It’s a crazy and beautiful world out there…
And it’s amazing that people are out there doing incredible work to help protect and understand these mysterious life-forms.