A glass preserving jar containing an octopus with a clutch of eggs was a surprise catch for scientists sampling seafloor creatures from the deep Southern Ocean earlier this week.
The octopus is thought to be Pareledone turqueti, an Antarctic octopus with circumpolar distribution. Many species of octopus care for their eggs until they hatch, going without food to guard their developing offspring before they emerge as juveniles.
Even 800 metres below the surface, at the bottom of the ocean, more than 2000 miles from the nearest town or city, humankind leaves its mark. Although it is disturbing to see rubbish in this otherwise pristine environment, scientists were happy to see that in this case at least it had been recycled into habitat.
The Aurora Australis is in the Southern Ocean on its third voyage of the season. Having completed a successful resupply of Mawson station, they are now undertaking marine science to assess availability of prey in key foraging locations for penguins, other birds and marine mammals in East Antarctica.