Broken Ice Shelves Revealed New Antarctic Underwater Species.


Photo: J. Gutt/Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

Yay for global warming! When a large ice shelf broke up due to global warming, scientists got a glimpse of a pristine ocean floor, which had been sealed off from the world for thousands of years.

This ice fish above is well-adapted to the cold polar water:

As an adaptation to the extreme cold of polar waters, the fish has no red blood cells. This makes its blood more fluid, so that the animal can save energy otherwise needed to pump blood through its body.

Link - via Scribal Terror


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I am curious about the possible fate of the submerged Antarctic lake called Lake Vostok. This lake is under 13,000 feet of ice, and its waters may have been cut off from the rest of the world between one-half and one million years ago. While it is colder than the nominal freezing point of water, the great pressure of the ice sheet allows the lake to remain liquid.

Ice cores show some evidence of microbial life in the lake, and it is fun to imagine what kind of ecosystem may exist under such unearthly and isolated conditions. A major melt-off of Antarctic ice could relieve some of the pressure on this and other subglacial lakes. Since the waters of Lake Vostok are saturated with about 50 times the oxygen of water at sea level, a drop in pressure may make it suddenly release its gases in a manner similar to a shaken soft drink.

Much of the information given here is from the Wikipedia entry on Lake Vostok.
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