If you are an adventurer dive in,
If you are a teacher, a researcher, a nature lover,
A curious person who loves to discover…
If you’re a wonderer come listen to my pondering.
We have some expedition tales to spin
(Adapted from An Invitation by Shel Silverstein)
October 14th…yipeee!!! I leapt through the air. October 14th..yes! I ran down the hall, down the steps, out the door, across the bridge and onto the beach. I stood on the sand and called to the Pacific Ocean… "I’m going to Antarctica on October 14th!!” The ocean waved back with excitement.
I had just gotten off a video call with Elaine Hood, Contractor for Antarctic Support Contract (ASC) Communications. Elaine was filling me in on everything I need to know to go to Antarctica with the PolarTREC program. From the logistics to getting to/from Antarctica, to where I'll eat and sleep, to how to make sure I have the gear I need to stay warm and safe, Elaine had all of the answers! After our call ended my heart was fluttering. THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!!! I’m so excited for October!
Are you excited too?
If you are just joining this blog or even if you’ve read it since the beginning, let’s catch up on the WHEN, WHERE, WHAT, WHO, WHY, and HOW of my Antarctica expedition!
WHEN AM I GOING? October 14th!
On October 10, 2019 I’ll board a plane flying from Los Angeles to Christchurch, New Zealand.
By crossing the International date line I’ll miss October 11th and arrive in Christchurch on October 12th. I’ll be issued my Extreme Cold Weather Gear (big parka, snow pants, bunny boots, etc) and then on October 14th I’ll get on a plane bound for McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
WHERE AM I GOING?-To the dry icy most southern continent-Antarctica!
I’ll be on the continent of Antarctica at McMurdo Station, which is a U.S. research station. To find Antarctica on a map or globe just find the southern most continent. If you want to find McMurdo station on a map, find New Zealand and then head south until you reach Antarctica and you will be very close.
Some days the research team and I will be going to the sea ice, which is on the west side of McMurdo Station. Other days we’ll be in the Crary Aquatic Lab at McMurdo.
Antarctica is a continent covered, mostly, in ice and is 1.5 times the size of the United States!!!
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?-Hanging with researchers, sea spiders and sea slugs!
While I’m there I’ll be joining a research team led by Dr. Amy Moran. This team from the University of Hawaii is studying marine ectotherms. Marine ectotherms are animals like sea spiders and sea slugs that cannot regulate their body temperature. These are commonly known as cold-blooded animals. Dr. Moran and another member of our team will dive under the ice to explore and collect specimens. I’ll be a dive tender so I'll be supporting the divers before they go into the water and after they get out of the water. I’ll also help out once the specimens are brought back to the lab. We will be studying the impact of ocean temperature changes on the embryo and larvae of the marine ectotherms. For more about the research project check out the PolarTREC Expedition Page.
I’ll sleep in a dorm and eat in a dining hall and I’ll be there for a great Halloween celebration!!! I’m excited to get curious and explore a new place!
WHO SHOULD FOLLOW?-I invite everyone to follow my journey!
If you love learning or hearing stories of journeys to far off places or are curious about Antarctica or scientific research then this is for you!
Whether you’re an octonaut or octogenarian, a big wave surfer or channel surfer, Tik Tok watcher or just like to watch the clock, or if you just love adventures and/or science you’ll want to make time to follow this expedition.
My journals will cover my journey, the scientific research the research team is conducting, and information about Antarctica and life there. Once the expedition is over I'll be creating lessons for K-12 audiences. I'm also happy to talk to you, your organization, or your classroom or whole school in person or virtually before or after my expedition! Just send me a note in the comments below or email me at aosborne [at] polartrec.com.
WHY FOLLOW MY TRIP?-Hear stories from my expedition to Antarctica!
- Learn how to prepare to live and work on the remote icy continent of Antarctica.
- Virtually explore with me as I journey to the frozen continent-We’ll see what lives there and what life is like for the animals, including the humans, that call Antarctica home.
- Dive under the ice and see what’s on the sea floor.
- Learn more about the polar regions, marine ectotherms, and how temperature changes in the Antarctic Ocean are affecting them.
- Meet the research team and find out more about how the team works together to learn the secrets of marine ectotherms, what tools they are using to collect information, and what the research is telling them.
- Talk to the researchers! Participate in a PolarConnect event where you can join in a live presentation and conversation with me and the researchers. This will most likely happen in early to mid-November.
- Find out how the research we are doing in Antarctica relates to you no matter where you live!
- Access lessons about the polar regions, animals that call the Antarctic Ocean home and doing research outdoors with students.
- Get curious and use the comments section below to ask questions! The researchers and I will answer your questions as soon as we can.
HOW TO STAY UPDATED? Subscribe to my blog!
I’ll be posting blogs on this site every two weeks until I get down there and once I’m there I’ll be writing every day.
To follow along….
- Subscribe to this blog-this is the easiest way to be alerted as soon as a new adventure of mine is posted. Internet is limited in Antarctica and writing this blog is the one means of communication that will definitely happen. So, subscribe to stay up to date!
- Follow me on Instagram @amy_in_antarctica -I’ll be attempting to post on Instagram from my computer at McMurdo.
- Check out the facebook page for my adventure: @amyinantarctica A friend will be updating it while I'm gone.
- If the technology above doesn't work for you, send me your email address and I’ll add you to list of people who are interested in following along.
I hope you'll dive in!
QUESTION OF THE MONTH-How does phytoplankton get into polynyas?
In this section I'll be answering questions that you've asked in past comments or asking you questions. In the journal from April 3, 2019, Steve asked a question about polynyas. He wants to know "How does the phytoplankton get into the polynyas?" I'm glad you asked that Steve!
Polynyas are open areas of water that are surrounded by ice. These open areas in the ice allow light to reach the ocean while the rest of the ocean in the area is under the sea ice. The polynyas are areas that experience a lot of upwelling. Upwelling is the movement of the ocean that brings dense and cooler water from the deeper ocean to the surface of the ocean. This colder and denser water contains more nutrients. Phytoplankton, microscopic plant-like organisms, need light and nutrients to flourish. So, phytoplankton thrive in polynyas because they are places with light and nutrients. Polynyas are one of the most productive areas in the ocean! For more information about polynyas check out Tish Yager's 2010-2011 expedition on the Swedish Ice Breaker Oden
If you have a question be sure to ask it in the comments below!