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Researchers in both Antarctica and the waters south of Tasmania have been exploring uncharted underwater terrain, including over a hundred undersea mountains, some as high as 1,640 feet, and trenches even larger than the Grand Canyon.  These deep sea topographies have proven to be home to thousands of species of fish, sponges, corals, mollusks, crustaceans, and other forms of aquatic life.  Many of these animals are completely new to science, or are previously unrecorded forms of known species, for example:

In order: brittlestar, squid, deep sea jellyfish, fish, sea squirt, “psychedelic” octopus. 

The researchers in Antarctica claim that the species have come to their attention due to the break up former ice sheets, a result of global warming trends.  The changes in global temperature have created a number of radical shifts in marine ecology.  Scientists don’t yet know how great the extent of this impact will be, nor how much of an effect it will have on shallower water ecosystems, such as those farther north used for commercial fishing operations.

 

Sources:

1. http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/10/08/new-marine-species.html, retrieved 10/10/08.

2. http://www.livescience.com/environment/070225_antarctic_biodiversity.html, retrieved 10/10/08.

Strangers in the Deep
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