Antarctic Seafloor Ecology Journals

plane leaving
The time has arrived. By the time you get this, I should be back in Christchurch. Half our team is already there or on planes heading back to the US. Yes, they were finally able to leave yesterday (Monday) afternoon after a lot of back and forth. First, their original plans got changed as we finished early. Then, with bags dropped off, beds made, and keys returned, they got the call “No flights – bad weather”! Four days of waiting for the weather to calm down followed and then they really made it out. That’s Antarctica for you. Things change and we have to be ready to adjust. The C-17 with half our team. They finally made it out. I'll be in a plane just like that in a few hours. (By the time you're reading this, I'll have already left.) Now, as I write this on my last...
Traverse to the Coulman High Site
As we make our final preparations to leave the Ice, our underwater robot, SCINI, continues on. Bob along with Paul, David, and Dustin, are taking her on another underwater mission. Paul, David, and Dustin working on SCINI. After four years of first developing SCINI and then enhancing her cameras, thrusters, control, and navigation, she’s ready for a new challenge. After four seasons of helping Stacy and her teams see and understand what happens to communities as they recover from icebergs scouring the bottom communities, of doing qualitative depth transects in historical places as well as deep places of the Antarctic seafloor never before seen, and of relocating and re-sampling Paul’s old experiments, SCINI is about to head in another direction. This time it won’t be under the...
an EKG of the WATER DROP
With our jobs in Antarctica almost finished, we have at least one member of our group who already has plans for more time on the ice. The WATER DROP from the Delaveaga Elementary school in Santa Cruz was adopted by the hospital here and they hired him. Here is their WATER DROP story. Water drop found a job at McMurdo!! He will help the doctors and nurses at the McMurdo hospital. Now that he has a job arranged, he has to go through the Physical Qualifying (PQ) process. The WATER DROP from Delaveaga Elementary school in Santa Cruz arrives at McMurdo medical clinic. He meets Dr. Penguin. The WATER DROP then is greeted at the door by Lori the X-Ray Technician who has been at the clinic for 8 years. Lori met her husband at McMurdo and they have been married for 3 years. Lori takes...
Scott Base.
If you were to go to Antarctica, where would you want to go? Would you want to go to McMurdo or to a field camp? Would you spend time on an icebreaker or would you stay at a different research station? McMurdo is the biggest research station in Antarctica but there are about 67 other bases in Antarctica as well as about 30 summer field camps like the New Harbor Field Camp that we stayed at. The United States runs three research stations in Antarctica: McMurdo, the main station that is also the logistics center; Palmer over on the Antarctic Peninsula ; and the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station with its brand new station. The closest base to McMurdo is Scott Base. It’s on the other side, the eastern side, of Ross Island, in front of the permanent ice shelf with its impressive...
Cecil and WATER DROP
Windy conditions have stranded our team. The part of our group that was set to fly out today is still here with not much more than their ECW clothing as they have already "dragged" their bags. They'll probably be here through the weekend as a storm is expected to hit McMurdo for the next few days. Looks like we have one more storm before we're off the ice. Enjoy the warmth for us and enjoy the following WATER DROP story. (Thanks for those that joined in for the webinar - we had fun!) Sally E. Walker shares her WATER DROP story of Fossils Do you know what fossils are? Fossils are the remains of animals or plants that lived thousands of years ago. These remains look the same as when the animal or plant was alive but they have changed to stone. I study these fossils so I am a...
Group Photo
Yesterday our group spent the day returning supplies, backing up data, and packing. Meanwhile, Paul Mahacek is back from Happy Camper school and is finishing up his training. Dustin Carroll is also finishing his training and the two of them have been busy with Bob and David getting ready for SCINI's next project, ANDRILL. Bob, Paul, David, and Dustin - SCINI continues with the guys and the ANDRILL project. Later today,depending on weather, the first part of our group will board their plane and head back to Christchurch. Since they'll be flying, I thought it would be appropriate to post another WATER DROP story about the Air Traffic Control that makes sure the planes leave safely. Unfortunately the ice is being closed a bit early and Ice Town, our airport on the sea ice in front of...
Julie with a rich community under a thin layer of ice.
This season has been a success according to Paul! We set out to work on two programs – recovering experiments and getting a broader quantitative perspective of various habitats - and both have been a success. This is Paul’s favorite anemone that he has named Miss Piggy because she ate all those scallops. Paul’s favorite animal is the sea star Perknaster because it can do so many things and the magnificent Volcano Sponge because they release eggs whether fertilized or not and if the conditions are right they grow huge really quickly. On the one hand we returned to specific spots on the seafloor to photograph my old transects and recover my old experiments - floaters, cages and other settling surfaces. With the help of SCINI and the SCUBA divers, we took pictures and videos of...
The WATER DROP from Lori's ESL class check out the view of McMurdo from Observa
In less than a week I'll be surrounded by plants, warm sunshine, and all the fresh fruits and vegetables that I want! Until then, we have a lot of packing, cleaning, and finishing up to do. We're also enjoying the last few days of our time here. Though the popular expression, "It's a harsh continent" certainly fits, I've come to love our little town. The WATER DROP from Lori's ESL class check out the view of McMurdo from Observation Hill. Drilling holes with LT and running back and forth on ski-doos, the tucker, and the piston bully was totally different from my life of teaching and riding bikes or driving cars. Even my motorcycle didn't quite prepare me for these vehicles. The WATER DROP from the first graders at Sacred Heart Elementary School hung out with Paul and Stacy as LT...
 Big Balloon City.
A while ago, you read about ice town, the airport, right in front of our station. Do you remember what happens there and where those planes go? Before that you read about Mark and his weather balloons and the French team with their balloons. Do you remember what the purpose of those balloons was? While those planes and balloons have interesting destinations, the balloons from “Big Balloon City” or the Long Duration Balloons, drift off to potentially even more interesting places. This realm of gigantic balloons is a collection of 20 or so amazing structures on the permanent ice sheet in front of Scott Base. Just like some of the creatures in the water below the ice, many of the houses, vehicles, and the balloons themselves are gigantic. In fact the balloons are the largest sealed...
The group at Thanksgiving
We hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving. Though we missed our families and friends, we had a nice Thanksgiving here in McMurdo as well. Friday night we enjoyed some live music. Mechanics, scientists, janitors, supervisors, and other workers on station turned into drummers, guitarists, and singers. They played originals and covers, while the rest of us danced and enjoyed the entertainment. A 5 km marathon, called the Turkey Trot, was organized on Saturday morning for McMurdo. About 70 people participated and ran from McMurdo to Scott Base and back. We saw the first group racing back. We also saw some people dressed up - one as a Native American and one as a banana. The finish of the Turkey Trot. Most of town had both Saturday and Sunday off though many science groups still...