Friday, February 21, 2014

Antarctic Vimeo!

Recently McMurdo Station received some unusually high water levels, turing parts of the station into what is likely to be the least pleasant waterfront property on the Earth. Photographer Deven Stross was kind enough to document the whole thing.


Deven Stross has posted many entertaining, informative, and beautiful videos about Antarctica. If you want to see more, you can visit his Vimeo page by clicking HERE!

by Ben Segee

Friday, January 24, 2014

Scientists face frozen world in Antarctica

 Is an article by  Deborah Sullivan Brennan, it can be found HERE. The article contains some interesting facts about the preparation of going to Antarctica and highlights some of the importance of the research in this area.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Exploring the Rock Bottom of the Food Web Beneath Antarctic Ice

Ice caves on the Mt. Erebus Volcano, frozen lakes in the Dry Valleys and the ice covered McMurdo Sound offer diverse and extremely cold environments in which highly adapted microbial communities use chemical energy from rocks and volcanic gases to build new organic compounds. Join Hubert Staudigel as he presents initial laboratory results and stunning images from the 2012/13 field expedition, including SCUBA diving under the ice and alpine exploration of ice caves.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Antarctic Diving

Not all of our samples are from Antarctic soils. Sometimes, we need to venture into places a bit less accessible, such as the bottom of the ocean.

Henry Kaiser is a Grammy award winning musician and has recorded dozens of albums. He has spent the last several years working in the Antarctic as a research diver, and was kind enough to make a brief movie of our 2012 season dives. Rest assured, it is worth watching.


by Ben Segee

Friday, June 7, 2013

What lies beneath the ice...

Antarctica, as you may or may not know, is actually more than just a large floating block of ice. Beneath all the glaciers, snow and ice is a continent of rock. Because the continent is covered in a massive amount of ice, we have had very limited knowledge as to what the continent underneath looks like.

Now, thanks to the hard work of the scientists at the British Antarctic Survey, all that is changing.

To see their full article CLICK HERE

Using a number of techniques including radio echo sounding, satellite readings, and seismic techniques, the British Antarctic Survey has been hard at work making Bedmap2, the most detailed map ever created of the Antarctic continent.

Antarctica without ice
(Courtesy of the British Antarctic Survey).

Already the survey has revealed some interesting results. For instance, the survey has revealed that the amount ice on the continent is actually 4.6% greater than what was originally estimated. The team has also found an area underneath Byrd Glacier that is 2,870 meters (9416 ft) below sea level, making it the world record holder for lowest point on a continental plate. 

In the teams press release, the studies co-lead author Dr. Hamish Pritchard says,

"The Bedmap2 project is about more than making a map of the landscape. The data we've put together on the height and thickness of the ice and the shape of the landscape below are fundamental to modelling the behaviour of the ice sheet in the future. This matters because in some places, ice along the edges of Antarctica is being lost rapidly to the sea, driving up sea level. Knowing how much the sea will rise is of global importance, and these maps are a step towards that goal."
For more information about the Bedmap2 projects, and some really cool videos of Antarctica without ice, CLICK HERE

By Ben Segee

Friday, May 31, 2013

Penguin Preperation for OutReach 2013

Starting the summer off by getting ready for OutReach 2013,  by preparing some Antarctic animal life samples. OutReach is a program providing outreach opportunities ranging from high school internships to work-study positions and to teacher workshops. More information about the Outreach program and Current OutReach programs can be found here. Enjoy The pictures

Picture 1. Penguin head close up

Picture 2. Penguin Eggs

Picture 3. Penguin Feathers

Picture 4. Penguin Feet and Flippers (yes they`re called flippers)

Picture 5. Penguin Heads

Picture 5. Skua Sample

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Dry Valleys

The Dry Valleys

This is one of the parts of our trip that I enjoy the most. That is our trip to the Dry
Valleys. We typically camp at a location that has a group of structures called Lake
Fryxell Camp. I prefer to use the Scott tents like we did at Mount Erebus and on
Fang glacier, but others prefer mountain tents. Either way we set up behind the
camp away from the lake front.

Much of the work I do here is soil collection and for that we hike across the desert
landscape for many miles. It is pretty bleak with no plants to be seen – just miles of
glacial moraines. The walking is tough too since the moraines are loose sand and
gravel sprinkled with larger rocks.

But there is life there! Just beneath the surface there is a community of microbes
that live off of very little. These are the oligotrophic communities we seek. The
fungi that we find here have adaptations so they can scavenge enough energy
to survive.

Here I collected many kilograms of soil for shipment back to Maine. Stay tuned to
see what we will find in the samples after they get back.