Australian Robot Breeches the Frozen Layer of the Antarctic Sea for a Rare View of the Life Beneath

Scientists with the Australian Antarctic Division deployed a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) from O’Brien Bay in East Antarctica to offer a rare glimpse into the flourishing flora and fauna that thrives beneath the thick protective frozen layer of the vast Antarctic Sea.

We’re diving under the sea ice in O’Brien Bay, south of Casey research station in East Antarctica. This is a thriving, colourful world filled with sponges, sea cucumbers, sea spiders, worms, algae and starfish. Here we are at 30 m below the surface, where the water temperature is a chilly ?1.5°C year round, and the sea is covered by ice that is a metre and a half thick for more than 10 months of the year. This ice provides protection from Antarctica’s harsh weather conditions and a stable marine environment that allows biodiversity to flourish. It is important biodiversity like you see here that is the focus of our research into the effects of climate change and ocean acidification.