An­i­mals Take Refuge In The Freez­ing Cold Ocean

Science Illustrated - - ANTARCTICA -

The wa­ter is cold, but it is bet­ter than liv­ing on dry land. Tem­per­a­tures of a few de­grees be­low zero are to be pre­ferred over -60°C ex­tremes in mid­win­ter – and con­di­tions are more sta­ble in the ocean, which of­fers easy ac­cess to food.

The ocean sur­round­ing Antarc­tica is full of plank­ton al­gae, which thrive in the nu­tri­ent-rich, clear melt­wa­ter. The clear wa­ter al­lows the Sun to sup­ply en­ergy for the small crea­tures. The many plank­ton al­gae make up food for krill – tiny crus­taceans – which are con­sumed by about all other an­i­mal species in Antarc­tica. So, the plank­ton al­gae keep the en­tire ecosys­tem around Antarc­tica – and ma­jor parts of the rest of the world – alive. The al­gae pro­duce 50-85 % of all the oxy­gen in the at­mos­phere.

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