But when the images were sent behind three bizarre creatures, much larger than anything they had seen before, Drs. Dave Boden was stunned.
He said: “As a benthic ecologist, I study everything that lives on the seabed, but also everything that is included in the ecosystem that is on the seabed.
“The Southern Ocean is a deep-water ocean, so we are talking about depths from 3,000 meters to 5,000 meters.
“Essentially, if we are looking at the South Ocean, the South of New Zealand – the Ross Sea region – we don’t know very much.
“On our journey [RV] Tangaro was the first to see the northern continental slope of the Ross Sea and the first to see a group of seamotes north of the Ross Sea.
“So that gives you an idea of where we are, we’re just getting started.”
Dr. Boden revealed one of the creatures found during the 2012 expedition, explaining why it surprised him so much.
He said: “The main tools we use to sample these areas are high definition deepwater cameras – these hang on a wire under the ship and it gives us an immediate picture of the structure of the community.
“The Ross Sea continental shelf region has the highest biodiversity, certainly, but you cannot compare it to other parts of the world.
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“The reason is that the Antarctic continental shelf has been separated from the rest of the planet for many, many years.
“It is a sea spider, one of the trickier groups in the Antarctica group system because they are so much more diverse than the rest of the world, they are very large.
“Some groups have a tendency to tilt, it’s basically all legs, essentially no body, it’s the opposite of which we know.”
Then, the scientist caught a jar during his interview with New Zealand’s National Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) to reveal another bizarre creature.
He said: “Here is an example of another magnificent animal, it is a polychet worm, you will find them under a rock, but it is very large, [than normal].
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“There is a debate as to whether the Antarctic is the reason these things are large, or if there are simply offspring of this animal that evolved in the Antarctic and do not exist elsewhere.
“But one of my most fascinating discoveries from the trip was in a seam north of the Ross Sea, where we found an extraordinary assembly of sea lilies – crinoids – which are closely related to sea urchins.
“The main difference is that it is anchored in one position.
“The only place we’ve actually seen it is in the fossil record, we’ve never seen anything like it before surviving on the seashore.”