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Robot reveals Antarctica's colorful underwater world

Wednesday, December 28, 2016 - 01:04

Australian Antarctic Division scientists capture rare underwater footage of the hidden habitat under layers of thick Antarctic ice.

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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION A video released on Wednesday (December 21) shows a colorful world featuring sea spiders, sponges and sea cucumbers. According to Australian Antarctic Division biologist Dr Glenn Johnstone, the water is minus 1.5 Celsius (31 degrees Fahrenheit) and is "covered in 1.5 meter thick sea ice for 10 months of the year." "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." Captured by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) at O'Brien Bay, the video offers a rare glimpse into an ecosystem which scientists are only "beginning to understand", Johnstone told Reuters. The footage was captured while scientists retrieved a SeapHox pH data logger, which has been recording the acidity, oxygen, salinity and temperature of the seawater on an hourly basis since November last year.

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Robot reveals Antarctica's colorful underwater world

Wednesday, December 28, 2016 - 01:04