Underwater in Antarctica

December 22, 2016 • 3:18 pm

The Australian Governments “Australian Antarctic Division: has produced a wonderful 8½-minute film of video taken by a submersible camera under the sea ice of East Antarctica. It’s full of colorful life down there, and I bet a lot of these species haven’t yet been described and named. The action ends at 4:58 and then there’s explanation.

How many groups can you identify? Did you see any fish?


42 thoughts on “Underwater in Antarctica

        1. I realized that after I typed it. What happened, of course, is that I didn’t see them till the second time around. 🙄

  1. As a recreational diver, the view down there was familiar but also quite strange. Very colorful as well. I thought I recognized several classes of animals, like the sea cucumber, and crinoids and coral. Probably not familiar species. I could not identify any fish at all. The seal looked as curious as the human explorers.
    The underwater footage seemed to be repeated (two runs through) before the interview.

    1. I’m not sure if those “blue parasol” organisms were crinoids. Filter feeders for sure, but I don see the arm-branching I associate with crinoids. But my search image is biased to the fossils.
      The seal did look confused. But also proprietorial. Did you see the tooth scratches where it’d been keeping the hole open? Weddell seal?
      Yes, very saturated colours. A response to the low light level?

      1. The blue parasol organisms are sabellid polychaete worms. The ‘parasol’ is a Crown of ciliated tentacles extending from the opening of a long tube. In some cases you can see them retract quickly into the tube as the camera approaches.

        1. These are related to the Christmas tree worms we see in tropical reefs(family Serpulidae). They lack the long stem, but react at the divers approach in the same way.

        2. Some of the blue parasol organisms have a lacy attachment along the tube. Are those separate organisms, attached to the worms? In a few cases of worms with the lacy attachment the blue color of the parasol looks bleached out.

        3. In some cases you can see them retract quickly into the tube as the camera approaches.

          I didn’t see that in the video, but it was definitely in my “search image”.

      2. “saturated colours. A response to the low light level?”

        I don’t think the color is adaptive, just incidental. So, it would not adjust to light levels. The intensity is a response to the temperature of the lighting. I used to date a girl who responded to low light levels by applying additional makeup (but that was about as far as it went).

  2. Besides the nosy pinnipid at the beginning, I see sponges, and feather duster worms, starfish, brittle stars, and a couple sea cucumbers. I thought maybe a couple small gastropods.

  3. It reminded me of Dr. Seuss drawings. Wonderfully colorful and other-worldly. I wonder what he would of thought of this video. He was an atheist, and quite an extraordinary person. I imagine that he would have delighted in these images. What a splendid world we are privileged to witness.

  4. Well good luck to those species – they will need it. The rate we are continuing to degrade marine environments worldwide is shocking, added to that climate change. Sunday in the British Isles predicted to be as high as 15C!

  5. Reblogged this on aspiblog and commented:
    From the Australian Governments “Australian Antarctic Division” by way of whyevolutionistrue comes a truly wonderful video featuring footage from underneath the sea ice of East Antarctica…

  6. Beautiful, like a garden ,especially those tube worms with the blue fans,I didn’t notice any fish, i was transfixed with the blue fans, the look on the face of that Weddel Seal? in the first few frames was wonderful,seemed to be saying “Can I help you?” in the tone you use at someone being somewhere they shouldn’t.lol

  7. I also HIGHLY recommend Encounters At The End of The World, a documentary by Werner Herzog. Though he is entranced by a lot of psychological aspects of humanity, the film has quite a lot of biology, interviews and info about how scientists do their amazing (but seemingly DULL) work, and the cinematography is exquisite.

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