Underwater Robot gives rare glimpse beneath Antarctic sea ice

Remotely Operated Vehicle sent down by scientists of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) has captured a rare glimpse beneath the Antarctic sea ice through a small hole drilled in the ice. It also recorded the acidity, oxygen, salinity and temperature of the seawater in the area. The footage captured by the robot reveals a productive, colourful and dynamic habitat filled with a wide variety of biodiversity like coconut-shaped sponges, dandelion-like worms, pink algae and spidery starfish etc. These species were found to survive in water that is -1.5 degrees Celsius all round the year and covered in 1.5 metres of sea ice for almost ten months of the year. Scientists in Antarctica are working to understand the impact of acidification on Southern Ocean sea-floor communities with increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

About quarter of the Carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean. Carbon dioxide is more soluble in cold and polar water and will increase the acidity of the sea water.

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