WATCH: Flourishing wildlife below Antarctica

The Australian Antarctic Division released a video from the sea floor

WATCH: Flourishing wildlife below Antarctica

Port Lockroy on Goudier Island | Image: Antarctic Heritage Trust

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) released a video from the sea floor below the massive ice sheet showing a flourishing community of sea life.

The remarkable footage was captured while scientists retrieved a SeapHox pH data logger, which has been recording the acidity, oxygen, salinity and temperature of the seawater on an hourly basis since November 2015.

Dr Glenn Johnstone, an AAD Biologist, said: “When you think of the Antarctic coastal marine environment, the iconic species such as penguins, seals and whales usually steal the show.

“This footage reveals a habitat that is productive, colourful, dynamic and full of a wide variety of biodiversity, including sponges, sea spiders, urchins, sea cucumbers and sea stars.

“These communities live in water that is -1.5°C year round and are covered in 1.5 metre thick sea ice for 10 months of the year.

“Occasionally an iceberg may move around and wipe out an unlucky community, but mostly the sea ice provides protection from the storms that rage above, making it a relatively stable environment in which biodiversity can flourish,” he added. 

The Australian Antarctic Division, based in Hobart, Tasmania, is a division of the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy. 

Australia maintains three research stations on the Antarctic continent and one and a sub-antarctic station on Macquarie Island.