Using a camera-equipped robot to explore beneath the Ross Ice Shelf off Antarctica, scientists and engineers with the Antarctic Geological Drilling (ANDRILL) Program made an astonishing discovery. Thousands upon thousands of small sea anemones were burrowed into the underside of the ice shelf, their tentacles protruding into frigid water like flowers on a ceiling. "The pictures blew my mind," said Dr. Marymegan Daly of Ohio State University, who studied the specimens retrieved by ANDRILL team members in Antarctica. The new species, discovered in late December 2010, was publicly identified for the first time in an open-access online article published on December 11, 2013 in PLoS ONE. Though other sea anemones have been found in Antarctica, the newly discovered species is the first known to live in ice. They also live upside down, hanging from the ice, compared to other sea anemones that live on or in the sea floor. The white anemones have been named Edwardsiella andrillae, in honor of the ANDRILL program. The discovery was "total serendipity," said Dr. Frank Rack, executive director of the ANDRILL Science Management Office at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and associate professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at UNL. "When we looked up at the bottom of the ice shelf, there they were," he said. Scientists had lowered the robot, a 4 and 1/2-foot cylinder equipped with two cameras, a side-mounted lateral camera and a forward-looking camera with a fish-eye lens, into a hole bored through the 270-meter-thick shelf of ice that extends more than 600 miles northward into the Ross Sea from the grounding zone of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Their mission, financed by the National Science Foundation in the U.S.
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