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Low Life: Cold, polar ocean looks surprisingly rich

The first survey of life in deep waters around Antarctica has turned up hundreds of new species and a lot more variety than explorers had expected.

A team of scientists from eight countries sampled bottom dwellers during three cruises in the ocean south of the Atlantic. Some of the researchers offer their "first insights" into these Southern Ocean depths in the May 17 Nature.

The new work is the "first systematic and comprehensive study" of biology in the south polar depths, says one of the study leaders, Angelika Brandt of the Zoological Museum in Hamburg, Germany.

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