Scientists on a seven-week expedition of the Antarctica have found an array of new animals they had never seen before. These include giant worms, big-eyed fish and sea spiders - as big as dinner plates.
The new species were found two kilometers under the ocean east of Antarctica, where the water is barely above freezing. Scientists from Australia, Japan and France who were part of this expedition, say they have never seen some of these creatures before.
A lot of them are very odd looking - they have fins in different places, funny bits dangling around their mouths and very large eyes. This last feature is puzzling, since there is no light that far down below the ocean and the scientists are trying to figure out what the eyes are used for. Besides the completely new species, scientists also found some new varieties of plankton and jellyfish, with tentacles up to six meters long.
The aim of this expedition is to try collect all possible species of marine life in a 50,000 sq km area near the Antarctica. Each specimen will be identified and documented at a museum in Paris. The whole exercise is to gauge (see) how bad the effects of global-warming and the resulting increase in the levels of carbon dioxide is going to be on the marine animals.
Scientists strongly believe that a lot of these species that have been found will not be around in the next fifteen years (when they intend to check again). This is because the increased level of carbon dioxide not only makes it harder for marine organisms to grow skeletons in colder waters, but also results in the water becoming more acidic, making it difficult for them to survive.
We hope they are wrong or that we can do something to reverse the effects of global warming! Let us know what you think.