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Photos: Seeking life forms in icy waters

The Census of Marine Life has researchers braving Arctic waters to find jellyfish and more.
By Bill Detwiler, Contributor
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Jeremy Potter

In the summer of 2005, a team of international scientists went on a 30-day expedition to explore life-forms in the Canada Basin, located in the deepest part of the Arctic Ocean. Because this part of the ocean is covered with sea ice for most of the year, it's hard to reach. Here, Jeremy Potter tends the safety line for divers beneath the ice.

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Nicholson and Caba

The expedition, which was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Ocean Exploration, operated from the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy. Here, Mike Nicholson (left) and Joe Caba move the Global Explorer ROV (remotely operated vehicle) into position for deployment.

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Lifted in man basket

The information collected by the team is needed to acquire a baseline of data for evaluating the impact of changing environmental conditions. In this picture, part of the sea ice science team is lifted from the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy to the sea ice in a man basket.

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Under-ice divers

Under-ice divers Katrin Iken and Shawn Harper from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, prepare for a SCUBA dive in the frigid waters of the Canada Basin.

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Sea ice pressure ridge

Pictured is a sea ice pressure ridge as seen from a SCUBA diver's perspective during the Hidden Ocean expedition to the Canada Basin.

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Jelly fish

The team looked at microscopic organisms in the sea ice and sea water, as well as larger animals found in the water. Here, a jellyfish of the genus Crossota, collected from the deep Arctic Canada Basin with an ROV.

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Shawn Harper

Under-ice diver Shawn Harper from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, shoots underwater video in the high Arctic Canada Basin.

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Eusirus holmii

The amphipod Eusirus holmii, observed during the expedition, searches for small prey to seize with its powerful claws.

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Cnidarian

A yet-unidentified cnidarian collected from the deep Arctic Canada Basin with the manipulator arm of an ROV. The specimen was attached to a second species of cnidarian. To view more photos from the project, see the Census of Marine Life's online gallery.

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