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    Images courtesy of Shawn Harper

From: Sally Walker
Explorers Cove Field Camp, New Harbor, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, October 30, 2008

Creatures from Explorers Cove

I cannot believe the astounding beauty and unusual diversity of underwater creatures in Antarctica.    Some of the incredible sea animals that Shawn Harper photographed are shown in the postcard.   Giant sea spiders (upper right) were my favorite creatures.  The scallops, brittle stars (lower right), sea stars (upper left) and gastropods (lower left) also were astounding.  The most spine-tingling creature though, was the giant ribbon worm that can harpoon prey and then coil around it with its slimy python-like body.  

The sea floor looked like a freeway of animal trackways and rest stops.  I had envisioned that these creatures would be slow and sluggish because of the incredible cold, Antarctic waters, but these creatures are not so sluggish after all.   They are quite busy, crisscrossing the sediments and making a mosaic of tracks on the sea floor.  We are studying the life on this ocean floor to predict what we will see in the fossil record. We are using photoquadrats, as seen in the center above, to understand the number of species and the amounts of each sea creature in Explorers Cove.

Antarctic Field Guide

Video: Giant Sea Spiders

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Postcards from the Field: Polar Fossil Mysteries

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