Showing posts from November, 2010

The Ob Tube

At temperatures below freezing, the water below the ice is crystal clear.  The sun shines through the ice above emanating colors of blue, green, yellow, and orange, accenting the deep blue of the watery world below.  A large jellyfish slowly pulses its path through the water.  The edge of Ross Island can be seen, dropping down to the depths; scattered along its underwater slope crawl bright red starfish and sea spiders.  White, flat, and shoe-lace-like, large worms creep along the sediment.  Shrimp-like critters (amphipod? decapod? copepod? I'm not a marine biologist!) swim placidly through the water column and along the underside of the ice.  Tiny, silver, antigregarious (I make words up sometimes) fish are spaced throughout the water column, moving would too if you were so cold!  *Interesting side note:  Antarctic fish have anti-freeze proteins they use to keep the water inside their cells and blood from freezing, since the temperature of the water is below…

Learning to Swim

Part of the process:

Video and editing thanks to Jessica Farrer, Weddell seal technician

Pura Antarctica

The summer sun, in its seemingly-perpetual circling of the southern-most continent, like a halo being drawn and redrawn across the margins of the sky, has begun its deconstruction of the frozen seas.  The sea-ice edge creeps closer into Erebus Bay, the once frozen and hard layer of ice being stripped clean off the surface, revealing the depths of ocean below.  The northern-most edges of Ross Island, not long ago like a mountain rising from a plain, now lay bare to the wind-tossed sea.  The melting ice must bring joy to the Adelie penguin's heart, for no longer does this short, excitedly gesturing penguin have to traverse miles on the ice upon its short legs to find its colony at Cape Royds.  Now, the hurried penguin can take a relatively short waddle-jaunt to claim its prime nesting spot in the colony.

Further inland (or "inice," as the case is here), vast stretches of flat frozen ocean still lay firm and strong.  As the summer slowly sneaks forward, the tidal cracks alo…