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Sunday, 06 January 2008 01:55
CAML: The monster worm arrives
Friday January 4th 2008 Four stations were sampled overnight and it's the Big Polychaete that has people talking around the breakfast table, as Martin reports: 'This magnificent bristle-worm (a polynoid or scale-worm) was about 9 inches (230 mm) long, 3.5 inches (90 mm) across, with scales more than 1 inch (24 mm) in diameter and weighed about 330 gm - at just three to the kilo this is by far the largest polychaete seen by any of the benthic ecologists on board.To top it off, the bristle-worms arrived complete with their own over-size parasitic nematodes (up to 4 inches long) infesting the space under the scales.' ...
Saturday, 05 January 2008 14:29
Antarctic biodiversity research hits Time magazine’s “Top 10” scientific discoveries for 2007
Press Release from RV Polarstern 04.01.2008 Antarctic biodiversity research hits Time magazine’s “Top 10” scientific discoveries for 2007 Time Magazine has recognised Antarctic biodiversity research in its Top 10 scientific discoveries for 2007. The discovery was reported in the journal Nature in May 2007. The researchers found over 700 new species of organisms, including isopod crustaceans, carnivorous sponges and giant sea spiders on the seafloor of the Weddell Sea off Antarctica, at bottom depths from 700 m to 6,000 m. The Nature paper on biodiversity and biogeography of the Southern Ocean deep sea was published by a team of 21 biologists. Right now, four of them are at sea off Antarctica on the German icebreaker RV Polarstern, conti...
Published in News And Announcements
Friday, 04 January 2008 00:34
CAML: Four big lows
Wednesday 2nd January 2008 The view from the porthole is overcast and dull. The rise and fall of the horizon through the window tells me that the trawl deck is closed. This is a chance to read in bed and I am immersed in an account of Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition, “Lady spy, gentleman explorer: the double life of Herbert Dyce Murphy”, by Heather Rossiter. In 1911 in the same month as we visit these latitudes, a ship, also called 'Aurora', was on a scientific quest. With just 0.04% of the continent edge ice-free, there was jubilation when the rocks of Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay and its...
Saturday, 05 January 2008 00:07
CAML: A Fish tale...
Thursday 3rd January 2008 The sun is shining, the sea is flat and we have been back in action since 0500 working the eastern section of the CEAMARC sampling grid. From the bridge I drink in a rare pristine environment. I see two whales, some Adelie penguins and I am thrilled to glimpse the mighty Mertz one last time. Station 52 takes us to a point around about 17nm from the tip. The horizon is a distant but brilliant white scar with big tabular bergs jagging the horizon. Harvey Marchant is a marine biologist based at the ANU in Canberra. In front of us is his book ‘Antarctic Fishes’. Harvey says he’s not especially a ‘fish’ man but confirms that he is a trout fishing enthusiast and has an obvious appreciation of nature. ...
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 22:32
CAML: A Gondwana map…
Tuesday 1st January 2008 The day is overcast and sleety. Winds are at 40 knots, gusting to 50 and snow whips across the bridge windows. The ship is hove to, riding out the weather and the decks have been closed since 0900. Post party it’s a quiet morning. I have a lesson in marine geology. There’s a revolution going on in this field. We now have the tools to map the entire seafloor in the way that Geographic Information Systems have mapped the land. This is Dr Rob Beaman’s area. To show why this matters, he constructs a computer map of Voyage 3’s ocean section. Prior to the voyage he gathered data to construct maps of the ocean around Antarctica. Tables of geographic information, such as latitude, longitude and depths from the ...
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 06:50
CAML: The masked ball
Monday 31st December The Mertz has vanished in cloud and snow storm and we can feel the motion of the sea again. The decision to sample the additional site close to the glacier has been rewarded, as Martin reports: ‘The scientific highlight of this site was the discovery on the high definition photographs of highly pigmented patches on the sediment surface. The colour is very like the patches of photosynthetic microorganisms found on sediments in shallower places but at this depth (1300 m) no light penetrates and so photosynthesis is not possible. The most likely explanation is that they are caused by organic material from the upper waters that has sunk to the bottom fast enough to retain photosynthetic pigments. This explanation is consistent...
Tuesday, 01 January 2008 00:28
CAML: Mertz Glacier
30th December 2007 I’m looking carefully at my map of sampling stations because today we come closest to the continent and the Mertz glacier. We have been tantalized by the awesome and mysterious continent but have not been closer than 9 or 10 nm. Station 47 takes us to a depth of 1200m while at 49 we will sample at 180m, the shallowest site.There is great interest in what these different habitats will reveal. At 47 I watch Rob guiding his deepwater video camera over the seabed. He explains how the shape of the sea-bed reflects the ancient drift of the Mertz glacier. It’s rough country down there, the gouged and scoured valleys are scattered with rock carried by the ice. Life in the abyss is sparser but how wonderful it is to observe this ne...
Saturday, 29 December 2007 23:41
CAML: A meeting at the rosette
Saturday 29th December I worked through a CTD shift with Esmee. What an insight into the nature of research it offered; a water sample is much more than a bucket over the side. The CTD equipment stands as high as your shoulders and holds a 'rosette' of vertical cylinders within a metal frame. Each cylinder can be opened individually at a nominated depth. Data from several electronic devices bolted to the frame indicating salinity and fluorescence, and temperature and depth is assessed during the CTD's descent and the optimum sampling depths identified. A crew winches the equipment out the side hatch of the CTD room, while nearby in the instrument room the descent is guided down and back 'firing' the cylinders electronically to open and fil...
Friday, 28 December 2007 23:39
CAML: Cooee at Mawson's hut
Friday 28th December All day we sail parallel to the continent. The day stayed sunny, an azure zenith reflecting the deep blue sea. The bergy bits dotting the water may have been tinnies out for a day's fishing, while the distant rise of the continent took on just enough of a hue for it to look at times like our own droughty, denuded landform. It feels like summer and with temperatures up to just below freezing, we are in shirtsleeves. Through binoculars we can see the rocks near the site of Mawson's hut.. For some reason it is satisfying to know that it was precisely this bit of the endless icy fringe that the explorer used as his base. We all peer out. "Where?" "There - just to the right of the tabular berg." There...
Thursday, 27 December 2007 22:48
Antarctica: A roll of satin
Thursday 27th December 2007 We can see icebergs again. There is sunshine and blue sky and the continent appears as a ribbon of white satin with a hem just starting to fray at the edges. The trawls are back in action at double time, completing three stations between midnight and lunchtime. The whiteboard is rotating through a series of ticks, and shortening the average time for each trawl. The Sitrep trumpets success: “We have so far caught and documented about 28 different species of fish from the trawl samples. The fish assemblage appears to be quite different from that found at the coastal sites off the French research station, Dumont D'Urville, about 40 Nm west southwest of our current position. Many of these fish are new records for the ...
Calendar of Events
Fri, 07 May 2010IPY Monthly Report: May 2010
Tue, 30 Mar 2010IPY Report: April 2010
Wed, 03 Mar 2010IPY Report: March 2010
Tue, 02 Feb 2010IPY Report: February 2010
Thu, 21 Jan 2010IPY Oslo Science Conference -...
Friends of IPY
Thu, 16 Dec 2010Missatge 10: Un cervell realment...
Wed, 15 Dec 2010Ice Core Goes on Display...
Tue, 14 Dec 2010Sun-Earth Day 2011 Will Be...
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Mon, 13 Dec 2010Another Use for Antarctic Icebergs?