Oden Antarctic Expedition 2010


Check out the archived PolarConnect events with Anne Marie and research team from the Antarctic that were held on 6 January 2011 and 12 January 2011 here.

What Are They Doing?

As the Oden and the Palmer traveled towards McMurdo Station from Chile, international teams of researchers on board both ships investigated the summer sea ice, biology, oceanography, and biogeochemistry of the Amundsen Sea Polynya. Polynyas are areas of open water surrounded by sea ice and are very productive parts of the polar oceans where nutrients are rapidly exchanged between the atmosphere, ocean surface, and the deep sea.

The research team looked closely at the processes that control the production and destruction of greenhouse gases, and also on the role of sea ice microorganisms in this process. These studies added to the limited knowledge of these remote corners of the Antarctic Seas and lead to a better understanding of the interactions between the climate and the marine biosphere. Polynyas may be the key to understanding the future of polar regions since their area is expected to increase with warming in the polar regions.

Where Are They?

The team boarded the Swedish Icebreaker Oden in Punta Arenas, Chile, the southernmost city in South America, and then traveled across the southern Pacific Ocean to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, the largest research station in Antarctica. The Oden, a large research vessel and icebreaker, was contracted by the National Science Foundation to break a route through the sea ice into McMurdo Station. The Oden traveled in tandem with the United States research icebreaker, Nathaniel B. Palmer. A Swedish teacher also traveled as part of the team.

Expedition Map


Oden Helicopter Ride
As I look back on the past year since I returned from my PolarTREC expedition, I am amazed at the turns my life has taken and at where I am now, both literally and figuratively... What do I mean? Well, check out my PolarTREC reflection, written about a year ago, and then I'll catch you up on new events related to my Antarctic experience. How does one reflect on a once-in-a-lifetime experience? An expedition to the bottom of the Earth, working side-by-side with eminent Polar scientists to explore areas never seen by humans before... Well, let me start at the beginning. My involvement with...
To the Clothing Distribution Center
As word of the tragic earthquake which devastated Christchurch, New Zealand on February 22 reached me, my thoughts returned to that lovely town and the friendly people I met there during my short stop-over on the way home to California from Antarctica. Christchurch serves as the deployment hub for personnel of the U.S. Antarctic Program, which is managed by the National Science Foundation. Personnel traveling between New Zealand and Antarctica come through the Christchurch airport aboard U.S. military and New York Air National Guard aircraft. NSF also maintains offices and other facilities —...
At Crary Lab
After checking in our bags at the transit center, we had about 12 hours to spend at McMurdo Station before our scheduled meeting time at 1:30 am. We were assigned shared rooms in the station dormitories, but most of us only used the rooms to store our carry on bags while we toured the station. McMurdo Station is the largest scientific base in Antarctica and it resembles a small town, complete with a dining hall, coffee house and wine bar, health clinic, recreation facilities, bowling alley, greenhouse, post office, gift shop, chapel, and a large lab. We were lucky enough to get a tour of...
Broken Ice Near the Pier
The Oden finally reached, the pier at McMurdo Station the afternoon of January 16, carefully breaking the ice up to the pier. Here the ice was different than the ice we had seen. It was thin and very clear in some places, almost like the ice on the top of a frozen lake. The ice near the McMurdo Ice Pier was thin and clear and broke apart like glass. The pier itself is an "ice pier," basically a large rectangle of thick ice that has been anchored to the shore with cables and a bridge, and covered with gravel for easier movement of trucks.The ships tie up to the ice pier to unload...
Flags on the Bridge 1
As a part of my PolarTREC educational outreach, I invited classrooms and community groups to decorate a flag that I would bring with me on my expedition. Now, with my time on the Oden ending, I asked permission of the captain to fly the flags once more - this time on the bridge which had been my main "office" and workplace when we weren't out on the ice. The bridge is probably my favorite place on the Oden. It stretches across the width of the Oden, with bridge wings that extend out over the water on both the port and starboard side. There is an outside metal walkway that wraps around the...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

4 December 2010 to 20 January 2011
Location: Swedish Icebreaker Oden in the Southern Seas
Project Funded Title: The Sea Ice System in Antarctic Summer-Oden 2010-11

Meet the Team

Anne Marie Wotkyns's picture
J.B.Monlux Magnet Elem. School
North Hollywood, CA
United States

Growing up on the shores of Hawaii, Anne Marie Wotkyns shared the company of her first, and most memorable science teacher, her grandfather—a sailor, diver, fisherman, and oceanographer—who loved to share his experiences with others. Now Ms. Wotkyns strives to share the wonders of the world with her students at J. B. Monlux Magnet Elementary School using a variety of creative, hands-on activities in her classroom, including raising trout from eggs, creating games using magnets, growing vegetables in a class garden, singing about science concepts, and building an inflatable planetarium.

Anne Marie was named a Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2006, received the Steve Allen Excellence in Education Award in 2007, and renewed her National Board Certificate in 2008. She earned her B.S. in Communication Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her M. Ed and teaching credential from the University of California, Los Angeles. In her free time, Anne Marie enjoys horseback riding, golfing, snow skiing, scuba diving, and traveling.

Stephen Ackley's picture
University of Texas San Antonio
San Antonio, TX
United States

Stephen Ackley is a research associate professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and has worked and conducted sea-ice research in Antarctica for more than 30 years. He previously worked with the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) and then joined the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Texas San Antonio in 2006. Ackley Point in Antarctica was named to honor Ackley for his outstanding sea-ice work by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Ackley Point is an ice covered point located near McMurdo Sound.

Tish Yager's picture
University of Georgia
Athens, GA
United States

Dr. Patricia (Tish) Yager is an associate professor in marine sciences at the University of Georgia. Her expertise includes biological and chemical oceanography, marine microbial ecology and biogeochemistry. Her research focuses on the feedbacks between climate change and marine ecosystems. Her field research combines microbial ecology and community structure with inorganic carbon chemistry. She has spent several seasons working in Antarctica, and also studies microbial communities in the Amazon River. For the project in Barrow, Alaska, Tish will be the lead-PI responsible for project oversight, coordination, and synthesis. To learn more about Dr. Yager, please visit her [faculty biography page](http://www.marsci.uga.edu/directory/pyager.htm).

Blake Weissling's picture
University of Texas San Antonio
San Antonio, TX
United States

Dr. Blake Weissling is a research assistant professor at the University of Texas San Antonio Department of Geological Sciences.