Antarctic sea anemone discovery


This video says about itself:

Antarctic vent octopus

5 jan 2012

Communities of species previously unknown to science have been discovered on the seafloor near Antarctica, clustered in the hot, dark environment surrounding hydrothermal vents.

Working from the Royal Research Ship James Cook, scientists discovered new species of yeti crab, starfish, barnacles, sea anemones, and potentially an octopus.

From New Scientist:

Ice-loving sea anemones found in Antarctica

31 December 2013 by Catherine de Lange

Talk about being chilled out: a species of sea anemone has been found on the underside of Antarctica‘s ice sheets. They are the only marine animals known to live embedded in the ice, and no one is sure how they survive.

Frank Rack of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and colleagues made the surprise find when they drilled through the ice for a geological studyMovie Camera. They were using a camera attached to a remote-controlled drill to explore the underside of the Ross Ice Shelf when they discovered large numbers of the white anemones, which they christened Edwardsiella andrillae, burrowed inside the ice with only their tentacles dangling into the water.

Marymegan Daly at the Ohio State University analysed samples, but dissecting the creatures revealed little – they looked just like any other anemone.

“I would never have guessed that they live embedded in the ice because there is nothing different about their anatomy,” she says.

Other species burrow into surfaces by inching their bodies in or digging with their tentacles, but ice should be too hard, says Daly, who thinks the new species may secrete chemicals to dissolve the ice. It is also unclear how they survive without freezing, and how they reproduce.

“We would like to have some genetic information so we can answer some of these questions,” Daly says. Unfortunately, as the team were not expecting to find animal life, they only had a preservative with them that could fix the animals’ anatomy but destroyed their DNA.

Journal reference: PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083476

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New Antarctic animal species discoveries


This video says about itself:

Under the Antarctic Ice – Beauty of The Nature.

From Wildlife Extra:

A plethora of new species recovered from Amundsen Sea

December 2013: More than 30 new, and, as yet unclassified, species of marine life have been discovered during a science expedition to the Amundsen Sea off Pine Island Bay in Antarctica. The Amundsen Sea is one of the least explored areas of the Southern Ocean. It contains several deep troughs and basins formed during previous ice ages. Some are more than 1,600 metres deep.

During the months February to April, the scientists were able to navigate right up to the continental ice-shelf edge and carry out a number of trawls. A total of 5,469 specimens, from 275 species, were brought to the surface.

As well as the new species, some of those recovered had not been seen in Antarctic waters before. Echinoderms were the most abundant of these. This group includes starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. Among the new species to Antarctica was a bathysciadiid limpet which was found feeding on the beak of a dead octopus.

Lead author, Katrin Linse, said: “Unlike many other seas around Antarctica, the Amundsen Sea shelf was not dominated by large sedentary sponges but instead by mobile echinoderms (starfish, urchins, brittlestars and sea cucumbers) and a community of similar animals which inhabit the on-shelf basins.

“The Amundsen Sea is an area of rapid change due to ice shelf breakup. Until now we knew nothing about the benthic fauna living here. Our recent study gives us a first insight into the biodiversity of this region and can serve as a baseline to observe future changes.”

Penguin evolution, new research


This video from Antarctica is called PENGUIN BLOOPERS.

From Phys.org today:

Cooler climate helped evolution of penguins

3 hours ago

Penguins waddled into the book of life around 20 million years ago and diversified thanks to global cooling which opened up Antarctica for habitation, a study said on Wednesday.

Scientists led by Sankar Subramanian of Griffith University in Australia sequenced telltale signatures of DNA from the genome of 11 penguin species that are alive today.

They compared these stretches to make a “molecular clock“—a way of calculating how species evolve on the basis of regular mutations in DNA.

By this yardstick, the forerunner of all penguins lived 20.4 million years ago, according to the paper, published in the British journal Biology Letters.

If so, penguins showed up more recently than thought. Previous estimates put their emergence at 41-51 million years ago.

Penguins then diversified around 11 to 16 million years ago to form most of the species that are around today, according to the study.

“This overlaps with the sharp decline in Antarctic temperatures that began approximately 12 million years ago, suggesting a possible relationship between climate change and penguin evolution.”

Penguin photographer in New Zealand


This video (in English, after a short introduction in German) says about itself:

Tui De Roy – A Wild Spirit

9 Dec 2012

Internationally acclaimed New Zealand wildlife photographer talks about her life.

From the Otago Daily Times in New Zealand:

A dedicated follower of penguins

By Rebecca Fox on Wed, 25 Sep 2013

Tui De Roy has travelled to the ends of the Earth in search of the perfect wildlife photograph.

Whether photographing the rarely seen northern rockhopper penguin on a South Atlantic island or the emperor penguin in the Antarctic, the remoter the better, for Ms De Roy.

During the production of her latest book, Penguins Their World, Their Ways, co-authored with Mark Jones and Julie Cornthwaite, she made an exception, visiting Otago Peninsula to photograph the yellow-eyed penguin.

Ms De Roy (59) and her co-authors were in Dunedin this week to talk to the Dunedin Photographic Society.

The book was a sister to an earlier one on albatrosses and together marked the end of a 15-year project for the trio.

It was during the work for the latest book that she fell in love – with emperor penguins.

She travelled to the Antarctic with the Australian Antarctic programme and was able to spend three days photographing the penguins.

”It’s very much the end of the earth. I was very lucky.

”The space, the immensity, the soft light and they were such stately birds. It was very other-worldly.”

Her dream was to spend one year in [the] Antarctic photographing the penguins‘ life for another book.

Such an endeavour was not that outrageous for the woman who has been photographing wildlife in remote places for many decades – including the Galapagos Islands, where she used to live – and who has produced six books in the past eight years.

Another highlight was photographing the ”outrageous” looking northern rockhopper penguins, as their remote location meant they were not often seen by people.

In contrast, she also spent four weeks camping in the Falkland Islands among four different species of penguins.

Her work required much time and the ability to be able to immerse herself in the environment, she said.

With the book out, she planned to take some time out before planning her next project.

One of the most “disastrous breeding seasons” in recent years has hit endangered yellow-eyed penguin colonies along Otago’s coast: here.

Wandering albatross new research


This video is called Nature of Wandering Albatross birds – David AttenboroughBBC wildlife.

From the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels:

Looking good? Female Wandering Albatrosses seem to age better than males

Deborah Pardo (British Antarctic Survey) and colleagues have published in the journal Oecologia on senescence in Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Sex differences in lifespan and aging are widespread among animals. Since investment in current reproduction can have consequences on other life-history traits, the sex with the highest cost of breeding is expected to suffer from an earlier and/or stronger senescence. This has been demonstrated in polygynous species that are highly dimorphic. However in monogamous species where parental investment is similar between sexes, sex-specific differences in aging patterns of life-history traits are expected to be attenuated. Here, we examined sex and age influences on demographic traits in a very long-lived and sexually dimorphic monogamous species, the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans).

We modelled within the same model framework sex-dependent variations in aging for an array of five life-history traits: adult survival, probability of returning to the breeding colony, probability of breeding and two measures of breeding success (hatching and fledging). We show that life-history traits presented contrasted aging patterns according to sex whereas traits were all similar at young ages. Both sexes exhibited actuarial and reproductive senescence, but, as the decrease in breeding success remained similar for males and females, the survival and breeding probabilities of males were significantly more affected than females.

We discuss our results in the light of the costs associated to reproduction, age-related pairing and a biased operational sex-ratio in the population leading to a pool of non-breeders of potentially lower quality and therefore more subject to death or breeding abstention. For a monogamous species with similar parental roles, the patterns observed were surprising and when placed in a gradient of observed age/sex-related variations in life history traits, wandering albatrosses were intermediate between highly dimorphic polygynous and most monogamous species.”

Black-browed albatrosses and aging: here.