Now Archived! PolarConnect Event with Keith Smith and the Chemical Ecology of Shallow Water Marine Communities Team live from Palmer Station on Wednesday, 29 May 2018. You can access this and other events on the PolarConnect Archives site.

What Are They Doing?

Nell Herrmann and scientists explore the waters on a zodiac near the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Photo by Nell Herrmann.
Nell Herrmann and scientists explore the waters on a zodiac near the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Photo by Nell Herrmann.
Researchers will focus on the chemical ecology of shallow-water marine macroalgae and invertebrates on the Antarctic Peninsula. The team will study the ecosystem connections between macroalgae and crustaceans like amphipods (including gastropods). Particularly they want to know more about the benefits and costs to amphipods from being uniquely able to consume particular macroalgae and some other chemically defended red algae. Another focus is on the basis and implications of the substantial chemodiversity previously observed in macroalgal defenses. The investigators also seek to definitively demonstrate that some amphipods retain metabolite defenses from particular macroalgae, to defend itself from predation.

Where Are They?

Nell Herrmann's first view of Palmer Station Antarctica. Photo by Nell Herrmann.
Nell Herrmann's first view of Palmer Station Antarctica. Photo by Nell Herrmann.
The research team will live and work at Palmer Station, located on Anvers Island midway down the Antarctic Peninsula. Palmer Station is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and is one of three United States research stations located in Antarctica. During the summer research season, around 40 people live and work at the station, with that number going down to between 15 and 20 during the winter months. The team will travel to Palmer Station aboard the ARSV Laurence M Gould and travel to the diving sites by zodiac boats.

Latest Journals

Leaving Palmer station in the windy and cold darkness on the morning of June 15th was one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had. We were the last people that the remaining 18 persons left at the station would see until October, when the Laurence M. Gould (LMG) would resume its regular…
From left to right: CJ, Keith, Michelle, Andrews, Sabrina, Maggie and Chuck. Today is a tough day to come to grips with, we leave Antarctica tomorrow and it is hard for me to believe this unimaginable experience is over. There are so many people to thank and I know my words will not even come…
One of the things that has amazed me the most about the Antarctic Ocean is the way ice forms. The Inuit have 50 different names for ice and snow and I can now truly understand why. Ocean water behaves differently than fresh water because of the sodium chloride (salt) and other chlorides in ocean…
KC Bierlich, a Doctoral student at Duke University, and Post Doc Michelle Shero, who works with KC at Duke’s marine lab in Beaufort North Carolina, are in Antarctica to study whales. KC’s dissertation is researching how humpback whales, whose migration usually takes them over a thousand miles.…
Palmer Station, Antarctica
Project Funded Title
Collaborative Research: The chemical ecology of shallow-water marine macroalgae and invertebrates on the Antarctic Peninsula
Keith Smith - Educator
Freedom High School

Keith Smith is in his 23rd year of teaching science and his 18th year of teaching Environmental Science at Freedom High School in Morganton, North Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree from Ohio Universityin Earth Science Education. In 1995 Keith started his master's degree work at Appalachian State University, where in 1996 he began a research study with the USFWS to help create home ranges using GPS data for released Red Wolves in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare County North Carolina.

Keith's teaching philosophy is built on inquiry based, hands-on, practical science laboratory experiences. He believes that a strong foundation of knowledge in science and critical thinking skills will allow his students to better understand the world around them. Instilling in his students a wanderlust for, and a stewardship of the environment, is an important aspect often lost in the technology and social media based world in which we live.

Living in North Carolina allows Keith the opportunity to passionately pursue outdoor activities in rock and ice climbing as well as mountain biking. Whenever possible, Keith spends his summers and other free time traveling and experiencing the world around him. Antarctica will be his final continent to visit and he will use his research experience there to bring back to his students the opportunity to participate in the meaningful process of real world science.

Charles Amsler - Researcher
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Charles Amsler is a professor of Marine Ecophysiology and Chemical Ecology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The research that he conducts with his students is centered on several areas, but most involve chemical interactions between organisms or ways in which organisms perceive, respond to, or otherwise interact with their chemical environment. Dr. Amsler is very involved with educational outreach by regularly making presentations on Antarctica to K-12 classrooms and other groups (local science museums, etc.).

Chemical Ecology of Shallow Water Marine Communities Resources

Article from local online newspaper about Keith Smith's expedition to Palmer Station, Antarctica with Dr. Charles Amsler.

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The PolarTREC Field Experience

A simple Google search changed my life. I always knew I wanted to go to Antarctica, but getting the opportunity to visit the continent as part of a research team was something I never imagined. A year ago, I was looking for a way to become more involved and connected to the research science world.

UAB team
The UAB team and University of South Florida PhD. student

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PolarConnect Event with teacher Keith Smith and the Chemical Ecology of Shallow-water Marine Communities Research Team broadcasting live from Palmer Station, Antarctica.

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Article from the local Morganton News Herald about Keith Smith's upcoming expedition and Dr. Amsler's school visit.