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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fish are found beneath the Antarctic ice sheet as thick as 740 meters

Fish and crustaceans are found in the super-cool, super-dark, and "super-poor" of nutrients, in 740 meters beneath the Antarctic ice sheet and 850 meters below sea level on the continent.

The findings are surprising and make scientists wonder. How could fish and crustaceans are able to live in such extreme environments? What are their food and how to adapt these creatures?
The Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. (Picture from: http://ti.me/1DmbD6m)
Fish and crustaceans were found by a team of US scientists who are researching the Whillan Ice Stream, a glaciers in Antarctica that flows from the West Antarctic Ice Shelf to Ros Ice Shelf.
The first low-resolution image of a translucent fish that researchers discovered incredibly far beneath Antarctica’s ice reveals two black eyes and various internal organs (colored blobs). (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1CQ8oE3)
In the region, a team of scientists drilled ice and send robotic explorer named Deep-SCINI. Scientists gave the task to the robot camera to record the Antarctic deep-sea environment, an area that is covered by hundreds of meter of ice.
Another one of the fish, after a camera was lucky to grab a high-resolution image. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1CQ8oE3)
Actual research mission is to uncover the impact of climate change on the Antarctic ice sheet. However, unexpectedly, through drilling, the scientists discovered something surprising.
An amphipod recovered from seawater under 750 meters of ice. Amphipods are crustaceans, and are distant relatives of shrimp. They eventually swam past the camera lens after it was lying on the floor of the grounding zone. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1CQ8oE3)
Of the camera, scientists see moving shadows, ie the fish figure with protruding eyes. Closer observation later revealed that the fish was bluish and has a transparent body. Its internal organs can be seen from the outside.

"It was amazing," said Ross Powell, an ice environment geologist of Norther Illinois University, as quoted in Scientific American on Wednesday, Oktober 21, 2014. Powell tells how scientists were surprised and very happy with the invention.
Researchers saw 20 to 30 such fishes over several hours, here shown at higher resolution. Two arms of the Deep-SCINI submersible robot that found them are at the top. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1CQ8oE3)
According to Powell, the camera robot "see" around 20-30 fish on January 16, 2015, when the drilling is done. It shows that there is a community of living beings under the thick ice layer. The discovery is not just a coincidence.

Brent Christner, a microbiologist from the Louisiana State University are involved research, said, "The environment under a layer of ice that is a very hard place to live."

Food nets in place is unknown. With the lack of light, life in that place, especially microorganisms, will rely heavily on chemical energy. With the lack of food sources, fish and crustaceans at the possibility of "required" to have high mobility so that it can move from one place to another to obtain food.

These findings indicate that life can be found anywhere, in a place that never suspected by human. Simultaneously, the findings provide reinforcement will be alleged the existence of life in outer space, for example under the European seas, one of the Jupiter's Moon. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN]
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