The discovery was made in the Weddel Sea near the ice shelf (a thick layer of ice that flows from land and extends into the sea over the continental shelf, Diaries.) Filchner-Ronne in Antarctica. This is the second largest ice shelf in the Antarctic.
Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany have been exploring the area with an icebreaker since the 1980s. The Southern Ocean is known to be a breeding ground for fish.
In February 2021, the research vessel Polarstern photographed in an area in the Weddell Sea, towing a camera system behind the ship, and discovered a breeding ground for the species Neopagtitopsis iona, nicknamed the “Yunan ice fish.”
In the area, fish lay their eggs in small nests. The “Yunnan ice fish” digs a small hole at the bottom of the sea and lays its eggs in these holes. There was one or two nests per square meter on an area the size of the island of Malta. These nests are located at the bottom of the sea, at a depth of 535 to 420 meters below sea level.
The research team, led by Autun Purser of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, published an article about the discovery in the research journal Current Biology.
“It’s incredibly surprising that such a large fish-breeding ground in the Weddell Sea was completely unknown until now,” says Autun Purser, according to the research website. EurekAlert!
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