CSIRO explores Aquatica

Australia’s main government science body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has been exploring the Southern Ocean and has released its findings:

As well as discovering hundreds of species of fish, crabs, brittle stars, sponges and prawns, CSIRO marine scientists have found colourful corals, 80 undersea mountains – some up to 500m high and 25km wide – and 145 canyons, the largest stretching almost 2km along the seabed.

“The age of some of the corals – two metres high and over 300 years old – shows how slowly these environments grow and how long they will take to recover from (any) change,” said Nic Bax a marine biologist and biodiversity management expert with the Unviersity of Tasmania and CSIRO in Hobart.

He admitted his favourite finds were the “glass sponges”, delicate creatures that could not form skeletons because they were unable to absorb calcium from the water.

“You can only seem them down there in that deep water environment,” Professor Bax said. “If you bring them up they fall apart.” ….

Theres a picture slideshow here.

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