Exploring Antarctic Deepsea Life

Most of the Southern Ocean outside of the narrow Antarctic continental shelf is more than 3000 m deep. This poses a real challenge for scientists studying the assemblages of animals living on the seabed.

Dr Dave Bowden, a benthic ecologist at NIWA, explains how marine biologists are beginning to unveil the mysteries of this deep ocean, particularly the relatively unknown sector between New Zealand and the Ross Sea. New high resolution deepsea cameras have revealed amazing sights, including 'meadows' of a new species of stalked crinoid (relatives of sea stars) in habitats only previously seen in the fossil record.