'Giant sea spiders' (GSS)

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Joined: 27 September 2006

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Posted: 09 March 2008 at 7:33am | IP Logged
'Giant sea spiders' blitz the web
Posted on Thursday, 21 February, 2008 | 4:03 | Comments: 1
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user posted image rSubmitted by Stance: Giant sea spiders discovered by Australian scientists have become an international internet sensation. The term "giant sea spiders" has jumped straight to the top of Yahoo's search engine ranking index, a measure of the most popular internet topics. Filmed by an Australian marine survey expedition which arrived back in Hobart this week, the spiders are ranking ahead of other internet "movers" including "Fidel Castro", "Priscilla Presley", "Flat belly diet" and "Indian cricket score". Scientists studying Antarctic waters have filmed and captured giant sea creatures, including sea spiders the size of dinner plates and jelly fish with 6m tentacles. A fleet of three Antarctic marine research ships returned to Australia this week, ending a summer expedition to the Southern Ocean where they carried out a census of life in the icy ocean and on its floor, more than 1000m below the surface. "Gigantism is very common in Antarctic waters - we have collected huge worms, giant crustaceans and sea spiders the size of dinner plates," said Australian scientist Martin Riddle, voyage leader on the research ship Aurora Australis. "Many live in the dark and have pretty large eyes. They are strange looking fish," Dr Riddle said on ABC radio. "Some of the video footage we have collected is really stunning - it's amazing to be able to navigate undersea mountains and valleys and actually see what the animals look like in their undisturbed state," Dr Riddle said.

"In some places every inch of the sea floor is covered in life. In other places we can see deep scars and gouges where icebergs scour the sea floor as they pass by," he said. The Australian Antarctic Division expedition will help scientists monitor how the impact of environmental change in Antarctic waters, such as ocean acidification caused by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, will make it harder for marine organisms to grow and sustain calcium carbonate skeletons.

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Posted: 09 March 2008 at 7:42am | IP Logged

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