Up until recently, scientists thought that life couldn’t exist far beneath parts of Antarctica’s ice shelf.
That assumption has been flipped on its head with the recent discovery of sponges in an area 260 kilometers (161 miles) inside the outer edge of an Antarctic ice shelf.
According to a paper in the journal “Frontiers In Marine Science,” the established theory of life beneath the ice was that plants and animals decreased the further away you got from the ice shelf front:
“The discovery of an established community consisting of only sessile, probably filter feeding, organisms (sponges and other taxa) on a boulder 260 km from the ice front raises significant questions, especially when the local currents suggest that this community is somewhere between 625 km and 1500 km in the direction of water flow from the nearest region of photosynthesis.”
“This new evidence requires us to rethink our ideas with regard to the diversity of community types found under ice shelves, the key factors which control their distribution and their vulnerability to environmental change and ice shelf collapse.”
Check out the full article here.
(Image credit: Frontiers In Marine Science)