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originally posted by: NavyDoc
Life will find a way...
It is possible that they only exist there on a temporary basis when certain conditions make it amenable to life, for example. It's also possible that is a juvenile of a larger species and the young use the ice shelf as a place to gain a foothold in life before they hit the open ocean.
There may be currents underneath the ice that bring in nutrients. Just barely enough to sustain a small system.
Just finding out that it isn't a total desert is interesting, but I didn't expect it would be. If life can find a way on the stark depths of the ocean floor, then why wouldn't it figure out how to use the space underneath the ice too?
originally posted by: theantediluvian
Anything's possible. Some salmon swim 900 miles or so upstream to spawn...
But the rocky seafloor was devoid of life. Tulaczyk said he thinks rocks that are constantly melting out of the ice sheet are responsible for the desolate conditions. Glacial ice can carry dust that is finer than flour or boulders bigger than buses.
"Forms of life that are sedentary will be stoned to death," he told Live Science from McMurdo Station in Antarctica. "The only things that can successfully explore food resources are things that can swim."
Yet the debris may also deliver much-needed nutrients — scarce in this dark, plankton-free world — in the form of ancient, carbon-rich marine sediments. For instance, ice cores brought up from the borehole contained shells called diatoms, the remains of microscopic marine creatures that lived and died before Antarctica froze over. "It could be we're looking at an old ecosystem eroding from the ice," Tulaczyk said.