The Antarctica

In Summer the sun remains shining 24 hours a day for four months in Antarctica, allowing algae and phytoplankton to bloom. As a result, huge numbers of fish and crustaceans feed on them, which then draw in greater predators. Just as the sun shines in summer, it disappears in winter for 6 months at a time which locks away the bounty contained in the polar waters.

An image of a group of Adelie Penguins. These penguins are one of the four species that nest on Antartica itself and the rest are, emperor penguins, chinstrap penguins, and gentoo penguins. All of the other 13 species breed on sub-Antarctic islands or coasts farther north.

 

Crabeater seals spend the winter in polar waters hunting beneath the ice. At this time of year they have to work extra hard to keep their breathing holes open because the water’s surface freezes a lot faster than usual.

Temperatures below -12.3°c Is considered Summer in this icy world despite the 24-hour sun. Antarctica’s land varies throughout the seasons. In winter with freezing temperatures of -49°c, the water forms into ice and in summer, of course, the ice melts. The ice is 1 and a half miles deep and It is researched that Antarctica contains 90% of the world’s water and if all that ice melted it would flood half the worlds population. The water level in the ocean would rise more than 150 feet.

 

These prehistoric looking whales are rare species which are called Narwhals. They have only two teeth and catch their prey by sucking them up like vacuums. Click here for more unusual facts about Narwhals.

Air-breathing animals have adapted to the life in the sea in the polar world. The birds most associated with polar waters are penguins. Their body is superbly adapted as they are teardrop shaped which enables them to cut through the water and their wings are used as paddles. Penguins have oily feathers which prevent water from entering them. They have thick skin and fat under their oily feathers to protect themselves even more from the cold. When temperatures drop to unbearable, they all gather up in large groups and hurdle themselves together for warmth enduring screaming gales with winds of 125mph and temperatures as low as -60°c. Each of the males take turns to go outside the hurdle to ensure that the group as a whole survives. When it comes to catching prey, King and Emperor penguins mainly hunt squid. Their long beaks are an adaption to help them grip the slippery prey.

These fish are scientifically known as Chaenocephalus acerus. They are adapted to the extremely cold waters of Antarctica as their blood is filled with anti-freeze to stop ice crystals forming inside of them. These Ice fish don’t have any red blood cells.

Polar bears are other famous individuals for polar lands as well as penguins. These are fat full animals that can swim through the icy waters in incredible distances. On average Polar bears can swim more than 30 miles even though their body is 50% mass of fat. In a study, the longest a polar bear swam was almost 220 miles. They paddle with their front paws, which have webbing between the toes, and use their hind legs to steer.

Although there are adapted air-breathing animals here, there are some that face life-threatening problems. There is a problem for some fish in the Arctica as the sea water freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water because it contains salt. The issue is that this forms ice crystals in their blood. Many fish avoid the problem by leaving the area in winter when the water is the coldest, however, some fish are adapted to it which enables them to live and feed below the ice all year round.

Beluga Whales are unique among other species of whales as they are able to change their facial expressions, pursing their lips and altering the shape of their forehead when vocalizing. They are very social animals that live and travel in groups.

 

While conditions vary above the ice, temperatures under the water never drop below -1.9°C. The Upwelling and continual horizontal movement of water prevent the oceans freezing solid, even if they are covered by a crust of ice.

 

Starving Polar bear hunting for food.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: