Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scientists Capture Giant Antarctic Sea Creatures

fleet of three Antarctic marine research ships returned to Australia this week ending a summer expedition to the Southern Ocean where they carried out a census of life in the icy ocean and on its floor more than one kilometer below the surface.

[Martin Riddle, Marine Scientist Doctor]:
"A huge diversity of life, very colorful, very rich, far exceeding any of our expectations."

The three ships, the Aurora Australia, France's L'Astrolabe and Japan's Umitaka Maru all docked in Hobart on Australia's southern island state of Tasmania. Their decks are full of an array of sea life including unknown species of sea creatures collected near the eastern Antarctic land mass.

[Martin Riddle, Marine Scientist Doctor]:
"There are forces happening in the world, in the atmosphere and in the ocean that are going to change even this the Antarctic and the southern ocean, so it is really important now to have baseline so that we know what we have got now, so that we can identify whether it is changing and put in place measures to protect it before it is lost."

The Australian Antarctic Division expedition will help scientists monitor the impact of environmental change in Antarctic waters.