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Strange Sightings in Ocean Depths Off Antarctica

Researchers collecting specimens off Antarctica have found strange creatures. Creatures like giant sea spiders, tunicates and organisms looking like slender glass were all found. Researchers also described a strange looking fish with "funny dangling bits" around their mouth. They saw thousands of creatures and as many as a quarter them were previously undiscovered. You can see some of them in the video clip below. An article in the Telegraph also has photos of the tunicates and a giant scale worm. Last year a psychedelic octopus was discovered in the in frigid waters off Antarctica.

Unfortunately, global warming may allow sharks and crabs to come and eat many of these defenseless ocean lifeforms.
"Sharks are going to arrive in Antarctica as long as the warming trend continues, a bit more slowly than crabs - crabs are going to get there first," said Professor Cheryl Wilga of the University of Rhode Island (URI), US. "But once they do get there they are capable of eating the organisms that live there."

Professor Wilga said the arrival of sharks and shell-crushing bony fishes would lead to dramatic changes in the number and proportions of species found there.

Shrimp, ribbon worms and brittle stars are likely to be the most vulnerable to population declines.

Dr Sven Thatje of the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton, UK, said animals living in shallow water in Antarctica were unique on Earth today because they evolved in a very cold environment over tens of millions of years.


Posted on February 19, 2008

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