Scientists using cutting-edge technology to explore waters off Indonesia were wowed by colorful and diverse images of marine life on the ocean floor, reports the Associated Press—including plate-sized sea spiders and flower-like sponges that appear to be carnivorous. They predicted that as many as 50 new plant and animal species might have been discovered during the three-week expedition that ended Aug. 14. More than 100 hours of video and 100,000 photographs, captured using a robotic vehicle with high-definition cameras, were piped to shore in real time by satellite and high-speed internet. Verena Tunnicliffe, a professor at the University of Victoria in Canada, said the images provided an extraordinary glimpse into one of the globe’s most complex and little-known marine ecosystems. “Stalked sea lilies once covered the ocean, shallow and deep, but now are rare,” she said in a written statement. “I’ve only seen a few in my career. But on this expedition, I was amazed to see them in great diversity.” Likewise, Tunnicliffe has also seen sea spiders before, but those were tiny in comparison, all around one inch long: “The sea spiders … on this mission were huge: eight inches or more across.” One animal captured on video looks like a flower, covered with glasslike needles, but scientists think it is probably a carnivorous sponge. The pink spikes, covered with sticky tissue, appear to capture food as it passes by. Other pictures showed a lavender-colored fish walking on the sea floor and the bright red arms of underwater lilies…

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Denny Carter

Dennis has covered higher education technology since April 2008, having interviewed some of the most recognized IT pros in U.S. colleges and universities. He is always updating eCampus News with the latest in pressing ed-tech issues, such as the growing i


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