What Does The Antarctic Seafloor Look Like? Expedition Reveals Stunning Footage and Imagery

Rare and stunning images and footage just released by Greenpeace International reveal a hidden world teeming with life far beneath the ice-covered surface of the Antarctic Ocean.

The organization is currently on a months-long research expedition in the Antarctic to explore the seafloor and sample for plastic pollution, where they found an amazing array of marine life in an area that had previously been unexplored by humans.

The images offer a powerful visual reminder of why we need to protect this fragile marine ecosystem.

GP0STRHYTA two person submarine at the surface after a dive, next to Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise at Livingston Island, Antarctica. Credit: Christian Åslund/Greenpeace

“Our first dive in the Antarctic Ocean was amazing. I really didn’t know what to expect, but we saw so much life, it was very diverse. There were a lot of species of sponges, corals, sea squirts, a lot of different kinds of sea stars and their relatives, basket stars, feather stars. It was just incredible how the whole bottom was carpeted with life. I really didn’t expect it. I hope the work we’re doing down here shows exactly why we need to protect this precious ecosystem,” said John Hocevar, a Greenpeace US marine biologist who piloted the submarine.

The organization is ultimately working towards the creation of the Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary in the Weddell Sea, which would cover 700,000 square miles making it the largest protected area on earth.

Glacier front and icebergs in the AntarcticGlacier front and icebergs at Joinville Island, facing the Antarctic Sound at the opening of the Weddell Sea. Credit: Christian Åslund/Greenpeace

It would make the waters there off limits to industrial fishing, protecting krill that Antarctic life relies on, in addition to providing a safe haven for numerous other species from whales and seals to penguins, who aren’t faring well.

Gentoo penguins in the AntarcticGentoo penguins in Hope Bay on Trinity Peninsula, which is the northernmost part of the Antarctic Peninsula. Credit: Christian Åslund/Greenpeace

It would also help mitigate the impact of climate change, which affects the entire world.

The campaign is also getting a boost from actors Javier Bardem, and Stranger Things’ David Harbour, who rose to a Twitter challenge to get invited on the expedition.

Javier Bardem and chinstrap penguinActor Javier Bardem looking at chinstrap penguins while arriving to King George Island in the Antarctic to join Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise in a expedition in support of the largest protected area on Earth, an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. Credit: Christian Åslund/Greenpeace

Hopefully as they continue their work there, more awareness will be raised about how vital it is to protect the Antarctic ecosystem.

Fog and mountains and Humpback whales in the AntarcticFog surrounding the mountains and Humpback whales breaching the surface in Hope Bay, Antarctica. Credit: Christian Åslund/Greenpeace

“This is an early stage of the research work we are doing, but there are clear indications of a vulnerable marine ecosystem in the initial footage gathered at the seabed. We’ll be doing further exploration of the bottom of the sea to help determine specific areas that should be a priority for protection from commercial fishing in these pristine waters, as well as building a body of evidence to support proposals for protection in the Antarctic Ocean,” said Dr. Susanne Lockhart, an Antarctic biologist who visited the seafloor.

The proposal for the creation of the sanctuary has been submitted by the EU and will be up for consideration when the Antarctic Ocean Commission meets in October 2018.

TAKE ACTION!

You can help by signing and sharing Greenpeace’s Care2 petition urging the UK to step up and support the creation of the Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.

Photo credit: Christian Åslund/Greenpeace

82 comments

John B
John B16 hours ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Mark Donner
Mark Donner16 days ago

They forgot to film the plastic.

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KimJ M
KimJ M18 days ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M18 days ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M18 days ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M18 days ago

Tfs

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RONALD Walker
RONALD Walker22 days ago

I am not surprised what found under the ice. What would be surprising that nothing was found? Life can be found all over this planet! What been surprising we have yet to find life on other planets or Moons.

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Sonia M
Sonia M22 days ago

Amazing pictures.Petition alredy signed,thanks for sharing

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Toni W
Toni W23 days ago

TYFS

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Toni W
Toni W23 days ago

TYFS

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