The thing about Antarctica is it’s cold. Really cold. As in an average temperature of about 15 F on the warmer coastline and even more frigid in the interior. So maybe it’s no surprise that warm seeps and hydrothermal vent communities in that neck of the woods would march to their own beat. That’s exactly what a team of researchers has announced:
(Houston Chronicle) — Interestingly the life found at these hydrothermal vents varies significantly that made in the first discovery of hydrothermal vent life, back in the 1970s, on the Galapagos Rift, as well as elsewhere since then. “What we didn’t find is almost as surprising as what we did,” said Oxford University zoologist Alex Rogers, who led the research. “Many animals such as tubeworms, vent mussels, vent crabs, and vent shrimps, found in hydrothermal vents in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, simply weren’t there.”
One of the things that’s exciting about this isn’t simply the evolutionary divergence, the warm seeps under the frigid Southern Ocean and ice shelves are about as close as anything on earth to what could lay under the thick ice of Jupiter’s second moon Europa.
Some more pics: