Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Pristine Ecosystem Revealed by the Collapse of Antarctic Ice Shelves

These organisms living on the Antarctic seabed are part of an ecosystem that was all but inaccessible to scientists — until two giant ice shelves, Larsen A and B, disintegrated. Before they collapsed five and twelve years ago respectively, the ice shelves covered 10,000 kilometers of the sea bottom. Dramatic warming in this region caused the shelves to break up, giving scientists aboard the German research vessel Polarstern an opportunity to study the pristine marine ecosystem at the ocean floor. The copyrighted photos were taken by Julian Gutt of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.

For more information about this research, see here, and here.
-- T.Y.

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