Personal Submersibles Provide a Groundbreaking Avenue for Ecological Research in the Waters of Antarctica
Underwater biological surveys have been conducted around the Antarctic continent for numerous decades, leading to a relatively comprehensive understanding of species inhabiting shallow waters (<50 m).
However, exploration below the 50 m mark has been limited due to challenges in access, financial constraints, and the scarcity of operational platforms capable of reaching such depths.
In this study, we showcase the viability of personal submersibles, increasingly utilized within the expedition cruise industry, as valuable tools for advancing biological research in polar regions.
Our investigation includes direct observations of the infrequently encountered scyphozoan species, Stygiomedusa gigantea, at depths ranging from 80 to 280 m in the coastal waters of the Antarctic Peninsula.
This instance exemplifies the potential that personal submersibles offer the scientific community.
Furthermore, we outline potential avenues for future research, demonstrating the capacity of these platforms to drive scientific exploration forward.