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Seal-mounted cameras detect invertebrate fauna on the underside of an Antarctic ice shelf

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Watanabe, Y. , Bornemann, H. , Liebsch, N. , Plötz, J. , Sato, K. , Naito, Y. and Miyazaki, N. (2006): Seal-mounted cameras detect invertebrate fauna on the underside of an Antarctic ice shelf , Marine ecology-progress series, 309 , pp. 297-300 .
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Abstract:

While modern sampling techniques, such as autonomous underwater vehicles, are increasing our knowledge of the fauna beneath Antarctic sea ice of only a few meters in depth, greater sampling difficulties mean that little is known about the marine life underneath Antarctic ice shelves over 100 m thick. In this study, we present underwater images showing the underside of an Antarctic ice shelf covered by aggregated invertebrate communities, most likely cnidarians and isopods. These images, taken at an average depth of 145 m, were obtained with a digital still camera system attached to Weddell seals Leptonychotes weddellii foraging just beneath the ice shelf. Our observations indicate that, similar to the sea floor, ice shelves serve as an important habitat for a remarkable amount of marine invertebrate fauna in Antarctica.

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