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Lupin 03-22-2008 03:08 AM

Science Break: Giant Marine Life Found in Antartica

This is really impressive.:blink:

Giant marine life found in Antarctica By RAY LILLEY, Associated Press Writer
Fri Mar 21, 1:19 PM ET

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Scientists who conducted the most comprehensive survey to date of New Zealand's Antarctic waters were surprised by the size of some specimens found, including jellyfish with 12-foot tentacles and 2-foot-wide starfish.

A 2,000-mile journey through the Ross Sea that ended Thursday has also potentially turned up several new species, including as many as eight new mollusks.

It's "exciting when you come across a new species," said Chris Jones, a fisheries scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "All the fish people go nuts about that but you have to take it with a grain of salt."

The finds must still be reviewed by experts to determine if they are in fact new, said Stu Hanchet, a fisheries scientist at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

But beyond the discovery of new species, scientists said the survey, the most comprehensive to date in the Ross Sea, turned up other surprises.

Hanchet singled out the discovery of "fields" of sea lilies that stretched for hundreds of yards across the ocean floor.

"Some of these big meadows of sea lilies I don't think anybody has seen before," Hanchet said.

Previously only small-scale scientific samplings have been staged in the Ross Sea.

The survey was part of the International Polar Year program involving 23 countries in 11 voyages to survey marine life and habitats around Antarctica. The program hopes to set benchmarks for determining the effects of global warming on Antarctica, researchers said.

Large sea spiders, jellyfish with 12-foot tentacles, huge sea snails and starfish the size of big food platters were found during a 50-day voyage, marine scientist Don Robertson said.

Cold temperatures, a small number of predators, high levels of oxygen in the sea water and even longevity could explain the size of some specimens, said Robertson, a scientist with NIWA.

Robertson added that of the 30,000 specimens collected, hundreds might turn out to be new species.

Stefano Schiaparelli, a mollusk specialist at Italy's National Antarctic Museum in Genoa, said he thought the find would yield at least eight new mollusks.

"This is a new brick in the wall of Antarctic knowledge," Schiaparelli said.

herefishy 03-22-2008 03:35 AM

You'd need one big chiller to keep those critters, I bet.

willow 03-23-2008 04:03 AM

wonder why the thought of deep sea diving dosen't
apeal to me,when you find things like giant sea spiders,
and jelly fish with 12ft tenticles. :shock:

i think(joking asde now) that there are many many things out there
that have not been discovered,and i find it amazing
what this planet of ours holds.
i wonder if/when there will be an update as to what if any
new species apeared. ?

stephenmontero 04-15-2008 11:18 AM

man i would love to see a picture of those giant snails that must be amazing

okiemavis 04-15-2008 05:05 PM

Yeah, what exactly defines a "giant" snail anyway. Cuz I thought apple snails were pretty large, but I'd love to see a snail big enough to scare my dog.

stephenmontero 04-15-2008 05:10 PM

well the article says snails as large as dinner plates so if that wont scare a dong idk wat will

stephenmontero 04-15-2008 05:19 PM

well here is a pic of a giant snail

this will scare a dog lol

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