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Saturday, 15 March 2008 20:21
By Jan Strugnell, British Antarctic Survey Tonight we did some trawling on one of the Marie Byrd sea mounts in an attempt to sample some corals for the geologists on board. The geologists were hoping to collect some corals to look at past carbon dioxide levels held within the coral structure. Deep sea corals had been previously discovered in the Amundsen sea region and initial analyses of them showed that some of them were alive during the last ice age! (between 12,000-24,000 years ago). The biologists were also interested in any other fauna that we could collect from there as very little is known about sea mount biology and so anything we would collect would be of interest. Trawling in potentially rocky conditions at depth is greatly increases ...
Tuesday, 11 March 2008 19:52
Octopus of Pine Island Bay !
By Jan Strugnell, British Antarctic Survey I am a molecular phylogeneticist at Cambridge University (funded by a Lloyd’s Tercentenary Foundation Fellowship) and I am investigating the molecular evolutionary history of Antarctic and deep sea octopus. I am therefore on board to sample any octopus we catch in our trawls for later DNA sequencing and also to preserve them for later investigation and identification. Specifically I am using octopus as model organisms to test the hypothesis that the Antarctic has acted as a centre for evolutionary innovation and radiation and as a source of taxa that have invaded the deep sea. I am also interested in investigating how past glaciation in Antarctica has effected octopus speciation, and also at the effect of the Antarctic Circumpolar...
Saturday, 08 March 2008 20:21
Pine Island Bay, Amundsen Sea
By Jan strugnell, British Antarctic Survey We have been incredibly lucky that the ice conditions have allowed us to enter Pine Island Bay, (in the Amundsen Sea) to carry out the BIOPEARL sampling programme as planned. In many previous years, Pine Island Bay has been inaccessible, due to a thick ice sheet, and so we are very fortunate that it is open at this time. Literally nothing is known of the benthic fauna of the Amundsen sea, south of latitude 66° south, because no one has sampled here previously. Therefore anything we find here is a new record of a species in this area! Phot...
Saturday, 08 March 2008 18:33
Trip to Unamed Island - it's all about the poo.
By Dr James Smith, geologist on board James Clark Ross. The purpose of our visit to ‘Unnamed Island’ was to follow up to a trip made by one of our colleagues at BAS, Dr. Jo Johnson who visited the island in 2006. Jo, then on the German research ship RV Polarstern, was busy collecting rock samples from around Pine Island Bay to date the thinning history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet since its last glacial maximum (about 18,000 years ago). Photo: Adelie Penguins from the Un-named island in Pine Island Bay (Amundsen Sea). BAS This work forms part of the GRADES-QWAD programme at BAS, which i...
Monday, 03 March 2008 18:25
By Jan Strugnell, British Antarctic Survey We were incredibly lucky today to have a pod of Minke Whales accompany the ship as we made our way through the ice into the Amundsen Sea, on our approach to Pine Island Bay! Around 10 whales spent a few hours at the bow of the ship to the delight of the scientists and crew who were huddled at the bow together in the cold watching them. Some of the scientists and crew who have spent a lot of their working lives at sea said that they had never seen whales so close before! We were so incredibly close to the whales that as they came to the surface for air we could hear them breathe and even smell their fishy breath at times! ...
Thursday, 28 February 2008 18:04
Agassiz trawl catch
By Jan Strugnell, British Antarcitc Survey Today was an exciting day for the biologists as we had our first day of trawling in the Bellingshausen Sea as part of the BAS core BIOPEARL project. We deployed the Agassiz trawl to sample the benthic marine communities and did 2 x 15 minute trawls at 1500 m depth, 3 x 15 minute trawls at 1000 m depth and 3 x 10 minute trawls at 500 m depth. The spirit of international collaboration does not just extend to the variety of different nations’ scientists on board, but no sooner than a tiny sea spider had been caught, was it photographed and sent to an expert taxonomist in Spain who was then able to confirm its identity to species level back to the ship in the same day. Meanwhile new photos of benthic species had already...
Tuesday, 01 April 2008 16:57
Water, water all around
By Jan Strugnell, British Antarctic Survey Four different scientists with very different research interests have been collecting samples of seawater from the water column using the CTD. The CTD is an instrument used for measuring a number of parameters from the water column (including Conductivity/salinity, Temperature and Depth) and can also be used for collecting water samples from a number of depths throughout the water column. For this weeks diary entry I had a chat to each of them about their science. National Oceanograpy Centre/University Southampton and BAS PhD student, Rachel Malinowska has been collecting water samples for her PhD using the CTD. Rachel is taking a depth transect from 10 depths (from as deep as 4500 m) from 6 sites around the Bellingha...
Thursday, 03 April 2008 16:17
Trawling for live animals
By Jan Strugnell, British Antarctic Survey Before reaching Rothera Research Station (a British Antarctic Surveybase) on the Antarctic Peninsula we ran three short Agassiz trawls to collect live animals from a depth of 200 m for the marine biologists at Rothera. The two wintering marine biologists at Rothera, Alison Masseyand Birgit Obermuller, are studying seasonal physiology of a number ofanimals. They are investigating how much oxygen they use and how thischanges with temperature as well as changes in their seasonal processingof food. We still know very little about how animals cope with the most of strikingly seasonal of environments. ...
Thursday, 10 April 2008 21:51
Rothera Research Station
Submitted April 6 by By Jan Strugnell, British Antarctic Survey We’ve just spent the last few days at Rothera research station. Rothera is in a really pretty setting on Adelaide Island off the West Antarctic Peninsula. The base is covered in snow and is dotted with Adelie penguins, fur seals and a few elephant seals. The ice in the bay is really beautiful - lots of it is brilliant blue in colour and other pieces are completely transparent - and many of them are really spectacular shapes too. The icebergs are truly an astonishing variety of colours and shapes. We’ve mostly been working unloading cargo for Rothera and loading up lots of their cargo to take back to Stanley and the UK, including live animals for back at BAS and waste from the base to be dispos...
Wednesday, 02 April 2008 15:55
Seeking Answers Beneath the ice: Dr Cynan Ellis Evans on Antarctic Sub-glacial Lakes
SciencePoles recently interviewed Dr Cynan Ellis Evans of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on the subject of Antarctic sub-glacial lakes: Large bodies of water that have accumulated beneath the vast ice sheet of Antarctica. In his interview, Dr Ellis Evans answers questions about how these lakes formed, how they are being studies, and what their significance is for Polar researchers including glaciologists, geologists, biologists, and paleo-climatologists. In addition, he sheds light on the nature of the international effort to research these lakes, and addresses more contentio...
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