“We thought something was wrong with the camera, but as focus improved, we noticed a swarm of small arthropods,” one of the researchers said of the discovery (Photo: Disclosure/NIWA/Craig Stevens).
A group of New Zealand scientists studying a thick layer of ice in Antarctica discovered a new ecosystem of animal species living in a freshwater river.
In the midst of research into the effects of climate change in the region, the team had to pierce a layer of the Ross Ice Shelf and eventually found an unprecedented group of animals covering an area of 487,000 km² in the same taxon as shrimp, lobster and crab and measuring about 5 millimeters by the British newspaper The Guardian, which the team initially thought was a mistake.
“We thought something was wrong with the camera, but as the focus improved, we noticed a swarm of small arthropods,” he said.
“We are very pleased with the discovery,” he said. “Having all these animals swimming around our equipment means there is an important ecosystem here.”
According to research leader Huw Horgan, the extensive network of freshwater flows beneath the ice shelves in Antarctica was already known to science but had not yet been studied.
“Observing this flow was like being the first to enter a hidden world,” the scientist rejoiced.