In the new short film Life Beneath the Ice, researchers have shown unusual sea creatures in their natural habitat. This survey provides valuable information about their existence and interaction with other organisms.
Director and scientist Emiliano Cimoli showed an edited mini-film about the life of the strangest sea creatures off the coast of the South Pole. The footage shows jellyfish close-ups and in unexpected angles, scallops and other soft-bodied and transparent inhabitants of the ocean in the Ross Sea region. It is located in the Pacific Ocean of the Southern Ocean, off the coast of Victoria Lands and Mary Byrd, between Capes Adair and Colbeck. The Date Line passes through the sea.
The exceptional detail of the video allowed researchers to spot a dozen species of gelatinous animals. Two species of jellyfish and three species of crested jellyfish are still unknown to science.
Emiliano Cimoli, study co-author and PhD student at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, captured footage while visiting Antarctica for research in 2018 and 2019. He tested sensor equipment to track algae that live under the sea ice, the director said in a YouTube video description. Videography and the discovery of new species are a by-product of other studies altogether.
“Subglacial algae play a critical role in polar marine food webs and ecosystems,” Cimoli explains. “The research theme of the expeditions was to study their numbers and physiology in the face of climate change.”
As a result, the work of the scientist and filmmaker opened a window for other researchers to a rarely seen ocean ecosystem. “It’s kind of a magical portal to another world,” concludes Cimoli.