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06 April 2022, 10:05

In first, Anadolu Agency photojournalist captures comb jelly species in south of Antarctica


ANTARCTICA, 6 April (BelTA - Anadolu Agensy). - In a first, an Anadolu Agency photojournalist captured a comb jelly species found in the south of Antarctica.

“Beroe Cucumis” was found around Horseshoe Island, where a temporary Turkish Science Base is located.

The 20-member science team of Turkiye's sixth National Antarctic Science Expedition conducted the studies on the world's coldest continent Antarctica from Feb. 10 to Feb. 28.

Anadolu Agency photojournalist Sebnem Coskun also had the opportunity to observe different species in Antarctica.

Coskun dived between the icebergs in Gaul Bay with Atilla Yilmaz, the expedition's environmental officer, to observe marine life near Horseshoe Island. The team came across a pink-colored species underwater.

She photographed the species which had not been detected in previous studies on the continent.

After a literature review by Alpaslan Kara, one of the members of the science team, it turned out that the creature was "Beroe Cucumis" and had no previous record in the south of the continent.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Kara said that the transparent pink-colored "Beroe Cucumis" species in the family of the "Ctenophora", which can grow up to a maximum of 15 centimeters (5.9 inches), is expected to spread to the colder regions of Antarctica until 2050, which is not very suitable for living now, due to the adverse effects of global warming.

“Beroe Cucumis is a tiny creature that most people think is a jellyfish, but it's not a jellyfish. It has been seen on the Antarctic coast before and there is no record reported from this far south,” he said.

“This pink-colored creature feeds on jellyfish and can hunt even larger jellyfish with its wide mouth, which is very large in regard to its body,” Kara said.

“Beroe Cucumis, which we come across on the shores of Horseshoe Island, can swim to depths of close to 4,000 meters (13,123 feet),” he added.

He added that Beroe cucumis is one of nature's miraculous little creatures that can produce light, also known as bioluminescence, by chemical means.

The ctenophore species is among the important components of marine ecosystems. Known for their gelatinous structures, these creatures have a wide distribution from the coasts to the depths of the oceans, from the tropics to the poles, but the ecological role of ctenophores in marine ecosystems is still not fully understood.

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