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February 16 2013

Thinning ice changes ecosystem in 'New Arctic'


In the Arctic Ocean, algae is manna from heaven. Clumps of the aquatic life drop from the sea ice to the ocean floor below, occasionally feeding otherworldly creatures that live there, such as sea cucumbers and brittle stars.

During 2012's record ice melt in the Arctic, when the ice cover over the ocean shrank to the lowest levels ever seen, researchers explored the region's seas with remotely operated vehicles. They discovered the thinning ice was speeding up algal growth.

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