The discovery was made a year ago by scientists aboard the research ship “Polarstern”. They observed thousands of nests while evaluating live images from the underwater camera system pulled by the ship. The area at the bottom of the cutting sea is said to be 240 square kilometers. AWI reported that this is approximately the same as the Frankfurt am Main area. It is said to be the largest breeding colony known to date, scientists wrote in the journal “Current Biology”.
“The most important ecosystem for the Vettel Sea”
Initially, the researchers found 16,000 nests through images. They then used sonar signals to identify millions of grips. Biologists calculated the total volume in further studies. So the area is at a depth of 420 to 535 meters. The breeding area is “the most important ecosystem for the Vettel Sea,” the researchers wrote. Surveillance equipment showed that the ice fish nests were targeted for cutting seals, which may have gone there in search of food.
So far only small nest collections have been found
The cutting sea is part of the Antarctic coast in the extreme South Atlantic. According to AWI, it has been a regular destination for “polarstern” trips since the 1980s. So far, the team has only seen small clusters of ice fish nests. According to researchers, fish build round nests in the ocean floor, where they lay up to 2,500 eggs and protect them.