Monday, March 24, 2008

Antarctica - Home of many unknown creatures

Antarctica not only has very specific ecosystems but is also home of many new, previously unknown creatures which were discovered by New Zealand-led scientists after their 50 days exploring of Antarctica. Scientists found new gigantic species such as ellyfish with 12ft-long tentacles, giant sea snails and starfish the size of food platters. This was most comprehensive survey ever of the Ross Sea and it didn't only found these gigantic creatures but also hundreds of unfamiliar organisms and "a lot of new species", according to Don Robertson, a New Zealand marine scientist.

And dr. Hanchet, one of the scientists said "that there were perhaps eight new species among the approximately 90 species of fish caught and that is exciting, and something that will grab the world in terms of fish biology". Scientists also predict this are only some of the marine communities never seen before and there is probably many more new species this cold area hides.

However all marine ecosystems are threatened today with global warming phenomenon and Antarctica just like Arctic is especially vulnerable to global warming due to its cold weather conditions. And while Earth's average temperature grows and ancient ice melts many different marine ecosystems struggle to cope with ever-increasing climate change. And as this research showed there are many more unknown and beautiful creatures that developed living in these harsh conditions.

If climate change caused by global warming continues, we could even be responsible for extinction of many species that we even didn't know about their existence. It is even possible that we already caused extinction of some yet unknown species and that is something we can't fix. But we could be doing much more to fix current climate change and give decent chance for survival of all these species, known and unknown.

Two 60 cm starfish among Antarctica's newly found creatures

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