Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

What Lives Beneath. . .

I was recently asked by one of the MN students that is following my journey if there are ANY animals around base currently.  I responded that seals, penguins and skua birds will arrive  as the temperature warms up.  I have now spotted my first seal.  I think.  It was a black blob in the distance.  I hope that means the arrival of more animals soon.   What I forgot about when I answered the question is what lives below the ice shelf that I camped on recently.

The crary lab is located near the medical clinic and is home base for the scientists conducting research in the area.  The scientists are great at keeping the community involved in cutting edge research through twice weekly science lectures and weekly crary lab tours.  I was able to tour crary lab on Sunday.  It was fun to see images of Mt. Erebus eruptions, and posters of WAIS divide, but my favorite part was the animals!  One science group is researching temperature effects on fish physiology and had two types of fish in their tank.  The fish have an anti-freeze like protein that allows them to live their life in sub-freezing temperatures.  The divers also put together a touch tank featuring some of the cool antarctic sea critters.

 

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7 responses

  1. Super cool!!! Absolutely amazing that there can be such a barren environment on the surface and a biodiversity hot-spot under the ice!!

    October 21, 2010 at 1:22 AM

  2. Kelly

    wow! with such a white, empty landscape above, it is so colorful and alive below.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:24 AM

  3. Kristin

    There is a coffeetable book upstairs in the Crary Lab library that I spent a wonderful afternoon looking through… Under Antarctic Ice : The Photographs of Norbert Wu . He is a scuba diver who was there maybe 10 years ago, and went out diving under the RIS all the time. It’s crazy all the stuff that lives under there! so colorful. You should seek out this book in your spare time… 😉

    October 21, 2010 at 8:01 AM

  4. Krista

    Wow! Did you touch that spider/red walking stick/crab thing? It’s giving me the willies.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    • Gave me the willies too. I touched it. Picked up the beetle looking thing. The sea spider looks really fragile. Pretty though!

      October 21, 2010 at 11:16 AM

  5. Nancy Conklin

    Hi Jessie,

    I am so thrilled that Marcia has passed this on to me. The photos are reamkable and sone of the sea life appears incredibly fragile. I am cold just reading this and would love to inject that antifreeze bit right into my veins. Our thoughts are with you and TJ during this incredibly exciting tour for you both. I expect that you will continue to surprise and delight us all in the future.

    Best, Nancy

    October 22, 2010 at 8:25 AM

  6. gregjoder

    Beautiful – thank you!

    October 29, 2010 at 2:51 PM

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