What Are They Doing?

The research team explored remote regions of the seafloor around McMurdo Station, Antarctica with a specially developed remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for underwater research. The ROV could be deployed through a small (15 cm) hole in the sea ice, enabling access to regions beyond scuba diving depths (at 40-170 m). The researchers located historical experimental structures on the sea floor around McMurdo Station and investigated the colonization of these structures by species of sessile invertebrates. This provided an unprecedented opportunity to explore and document the rates and patterns of ecological succession from one of the most extreme habitats in the world. The team also tested protocols for conducting sonar mapping with the new ROV as a first step towards creating high-resolution, bathymetric maps of the entire seafloor around McMurdo Station.

Where Are They?

The team worked in the waters around McMurdo Station, Antarctica. McMurdo is the largest station in Antarctica with more than 100 buildings, a harbor, landing strip and helicopter pad. More than 1000 people live and work at McMurdo Station during the austral summer!

Expedition Map

McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Project Funded Title
Undersea Research with a Remotely Operated Vehicle in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
Related Expeditions
Mindy Bell - Teacher
Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy

Mindy Bell grew up on an island in southeast Minnesota. Swimming in algae-laden waters, ice-skating around beaver lodges, and watching the wetlands come to life in the spring were instrumental in her decision to study science. Her liberal arts education at Carleton College included a term studying marine science on Catalina Island and at Hopkins Marine Station, where her fascination with marine life was fueled, yet her passion was for teaching rather than scientific research. After graduation, she took the ferry to Alaska and started teaching. After five years of teaching grade 7 to 12 science in Skagway, Alaska, and running a school fish hatchery, she attended the University of Washington in Seattle and earned a Masters degree in Biology Education. Ms. Bell now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she teaches secondary science at the Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy.

Stacy Kim - Researcher
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

Dr. Stacy Kim is a research professor in Benthic Ecology, or how organisms that live on the seafloor interact to form communities. She has worked with Dr. Adam Marsh in both Antarctic and hydrothermal vent ecosystems, and will be diving on this project to help collect worms, as well as to continue assembling data to examine long term changes in Antarctic ecosystems. When she is not studying human impacts in marine communities and developing technology for underwater research, Stacy enjoys backpacking, climbing, and beach volleyball.

Latest Journals

As 2007 ends, I am reflecting back on this entire year as well as my experience in Antarctica.  And I realize that Antarctica has permeated much of this year.  It was this time, one year ago, that I completed and submitted my PolarTREC application to ARCUS.  Then in early March I interviewed with…
Before I left for Antarctica, Stacy sent me a diagram of a photo frame that Bob had designed for an underwater student experiment. My students looked for ways to improve the frame design, and then I picked up donated supplies from our local Home Depot. I e-mailed one of my past students who is a…
"Ice people say that when you leave the Antarctic, part of you stays behind forever.” From Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica, by Sara Wheeler I do feel as if I have left a bit of myself on this amazing continent, but mostly I feel I have taken much from Antarctica. I have memories and…
"Under its worst conditions this earth is a good place to live in." This quote, by Henry Robertson "Birdie" Bowers, exemplifies the positive attitude of many polar explorers. Bowers was one of the five men on Scott's ill-fated return from the South Pole and perished with the…
"Ross Island is not a place for a settlement; it is a place for an elaborately equipped scientific station..." A prescient statement by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, when you consider all the science that is being done at McMurdo Station almost 100 years later! McMurdo may not be "…
"Exploration is the physical expression of the Intellectual Passion." Another applicable quote by Apsley Cherry-Garrard.  People can explore so many different topics in such a variety of ways.  It certainly doesn't have to be in Antarctica, or under the sea ice!  But that is where Stacy…

Antarctic Undersea ROV Resources


Using photos from a variety of websites, including the PolarTREC and SCINI websites, students will identify organisms to phylum and/or class level (e.g. polychaetes, starfish, brittle stars, sponges) and then research the primary foods that these organisms eat. They will then develop a simple food web for these organisms.

Less than a week
Middle School and Up
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This Live from IPY! Event was held with PolarTREC Teacher Cameo Slaybaugh and her project PI, Stacy Kim who are members of the Antarctic Undersea ROV '08 PolarTREC expedition. The team talked about the underwater ROV, SCINI, and the research they are conducting in the waters surrounding Ross Island, Antarctica.


Few people are familiar with the fascinating stories that Arctic and Antarctic explorers have to share. Students will research an explorer and create a dangling string with key information and highlights from the expedition(s) of that explorer.


To learn about polar explorers and polar expeditions.

About 1 period
Middle School and Up
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Learners from 6th – 12th grade will investigate different science projects in Antarctica through the PolarTREC and the USAP websites. They will then make a short PowerPoint (or similar) presentation to the rest of the class. Learners can work independently or in small groups.

Less than a week
Middle School and Up
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Arizona Daily Sun reporter Betsy Bruner writes about PolarTREC teacher Mindy Bell's adventures in Antarctica.

All Aged
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