Expedition Team Update: Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and space restrictions in Antarctica, teacher Tammy Orilio was unable to accompany the team in 2021. This researcher will not be going to Antarctica in 2022.

What Are They Doing?

A giant sea spider towers over a field of polyps at Turtle Rock, Antarctica.
A giant sea spider towers over a field of polyps at Turtle Rock, Antarctica. Photo by Timothy R. Dwyer.
Cold-blooded animals in the Antarctic ocean have survived in near-constant, extreme cold conditions for millions of years and are very sensitive to even small changes in water temperature. However, the consequences of this extreme thermal sensitivity for the energetics, development, and survival of developing embryos is not well understood.

This project will investigate the effect of temperature on the metabolism, growth rate, developmental rate, and developmental energetics of embryos and larvae of Antarctic marine ectotherms. The project will also measure annual variation in temperature and oxygen at different sites in McMurdo Sound, and compare embryonic and larval metabolism in winter and summer to determine the extent to which these life stages can acclimate to seasonal shifts. This research will provide insight into the ability of polar marine animals and ecosystems to withstand warming polar ocean conditions.

Where Are They?

A dive hole inside the dive hut just off of the shores of McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
A dive hole inside the dive hut just off of the shores of McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Photo by Jennifer Bault.
The team will be based out of McMurdo Field Station, Antarctica and will be taking day trips to a variety of dive sites. They will drive to most of their sites via PistenBully, though a few will be accessed by helicopter.

Latest Journals

Hello again! It's been a while since my last journal posting, so it's time to give you an update of what's going on. PolarTREC Update Unfortunately, I will not be joining Dr. Amy Moran and her team at McMurdo Station this fall. The number of people at McMurdo is reduced due to COVID precautions.…
Summer in Seward, Alaska Hello! It's time for an update that's been a long time coming. To decrease the chances of coronavirus arriving in Antarctica and overwhelming the medical facilities there, many research programs have been canceled for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. PolarTREC…
An Escape From Home Since we've been cooped up in our homes, practicing social distancing in order to flatten the curve, I decided it was time to get outside for some fresh air and a change of scenery. All of our local, county, and state parks are closed; however, national parks and wildlife…
If at first you don't succeed... It took a long, long time for me to get to this point: I've been selected as a PolarTREC educator and will be heading out out on a research trip to McMurdo Station, Antarctica in fall 2020! I have applied for this position a number of times before, so when I…
McMurdo Field Station, Antarctica
Project Funded Title
Thermal Sensitivity of Antarctic Embryos and Larvae: Effects of Temperature on Metabolism, Developmental Rate, and the Metabolic Cost of Development
Tammy Orilio - Educator
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Tammy Orilio is a (mostly) 11th & 12th grade science teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and has been at the same school for all 16 years of her teaching career. She is currently teaching Advanced Placement Environmental Science and Marine Science. Tammy graduated from the State University of New York College at Brockport with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and has taken a variety of graduate courses in marine ecology at Florida Atlantic University. Ms. Orilio is always looking for ways to bring hands-on science into her classroom, and as such, has participated in other teacher research experiences like NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program, Ocean Exploration Trust’s E/V Nautilus Science Communication Fellowship, and has sailed on the JOIDES Resolution as Education & Outreach Officer. In the summer months, Ms. Orilio works as a first mate on a whale watch tour boat in Seward, Alaska, allowing her to see whales, sea lions, puffins, and glaciers on a daily basis. Tammy’s classroom motto is “individuals matter”, as she tries to get her students to understand the choices they make have impact(s) on the world around them and to make more educated choices. She wants her students to leave her classroom with a greater appreciation for the earth and all of its interconnected parts.

Amy Moran - Researcher
University of Hawaii

Dr. Moran studies the physiological ecology and evolutionary ecology of marine invertebrates, with a particular focus on early life history stages – embryos and larvae. One major area of emphasis is the effects of temperature on the energy dynamics of growth and development, and in recent years she has studied polar gigantism in both sea slugs and sea spiders. A second area of emphasis is the effects of temperature on growth, development, and success in many invertebrates including barnacles, sea urchins, worms, and snails; current work in Hawaii also looks at the effects of warm-water events and bleaching on the reproductive success of corals. She is an associate professor at the University of Hawaiʽi at Mānoa. (http://www.moranlab.org)

Thermal Sensitivity of Embryos and Larvae of Antarctic Marine Ectotherms 2021 Resources

There are currently no resources associated with this expedition.