Researchers found rafts of kelp drifting 12,000 miles to the Antarctic coast. The journey of humble kelp is the first proof that the Antarctic is not so isolated. ( Crid Fraser / ANU )
Giant rafts from a large brown seaweed plant called kelp found their way to the cold, icy shores of the Antarctic after thousands of miles of warmer waters were.
The Australian National University in Canberra believes that this is the first evidence that the Antarctic is not as isolated from the rest of the world as previously thought.
The discovery brings new insights into how Antarctica is changing the current state of Antarctica in the future and how climate change is coming into play.
For years experts have believed that Antarctica is at home in the world because of its isolation from other plant and animal species.
However, the latest results show that the differences in flora and fauna caused by the extreme environmental conditions at the South Pole more than anything else.
Publishing in a new study In the journal Nature Climate Change the Australian research team says the kelp floats float more than 1
The journey was once considered impossible due to strong polar winds and surface currents that form a seemingly impenetrable barrier around the continent.
An analysis of algae samples, however, shows that part of the seaweed deviated from the Kerguelen Islands in the southern Indian Ocean and southern Georgia in the southern Atlantic
"This is an unmistakable demonstration that marine species from the north can reach the Antarctic "says lead author Crid Fraser of the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.
Antarctic Storms Coming into Play
19659006] The 12,000-mile journey is currently the largest known example of oceanic spread of biological material, the researchers said.
It is likely that the kelp has arrived n The Antarctic on the back of huge waves, which were whirled up by southern storms.
"In order to get there, seaweed has had to overcome barriers created by the so far impenetrable polar winds and currents," explains Fraser
. The results of the study reveal everything that experts know about the oceanic expansion at the South Pole ,
The prevailing theory was that the strong Antarctic winds and surface currents drove all objects north. However, computer modeling conducted by researcher Adele Morrison of the Australia Research Council's Center for Excellence on Climate Extremes shows that this is not the case.
When storms enter the equation, the theory of impenetrable barriers crumbles. The modeling shows how large waves through storms could help the rafts reach the Antarctic.
"Once we've built in the wavelike surface movement that is especially pronounced in storms, some of these biological rafts could suddenly pick up the Antarctic shoreline," says Morrison.
Implications for climate change
Marine biologist Erasmo Macaya of the Universidad de Concepción, Chile, found the seaweed washed up on the shores of Antarctica. This may have a tremendous impact on climate change, since plants and animals from other places migrate to the Antarctic, can easily establish themselves after the climate in South Ossetia the South Pole is warmer and cheaper for other life forms.
The new research will also be useful in other areas, such as detecting plastic garbage drowned in the ocean and debris from airplane crashes.
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