Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Edge

A helo flight to Marble Point (to tag pups from mom's that were previously tagged and retag any adults that needed it), brought us along the edge of the sea ice, where some pack ice has been blown in.  I have never seen this before, typically (the past two seasons being typical for me), it is just vast open ocean.  Pack ice tends to bring more critters, as some, like the leopard seal, crabbeater seal, and Ross's seal, are much more tightly associated with pack ice.  Here are a few shots of the pack ice:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Slush Puppy Anyone?

Antarctic slush puppies are a bit different than back home...

Click here to make bigger and change quality if desired.

Video taken under NMSF permit no. 17236

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Comparative Fat Content Analysis

...a real science-y way of saying "Look at how fat that pup has gotten!"


About 70 pounds.


Pup is on the left (!)  About 270 pounds.  See how the mom diminishes as well.

Blubbery fatso (that's a compliment)

Chubs sleeping in a collapsed cornice
Working amongst the fatties.  Note the seal behind Jason...thats a mom whos been nursing for about a month...she used to be quite rotund, now you can see her shoulder and hip bones now that the pup has incorporated all her mass.
All Weddell seal images obtained under NMFS permit no. 17236

A Taste Of A McMurdo Thanksgiving

And this is what the seals do for Thanksgiving:

Check out a new post on the Weddell Seal Science blog!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pup and Pickup Ride

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Diver Ex-entry

Divers Henry Kaiser and Rob Robbins entering a dive hole in a hut at Turtle Rock...except in reverse (they don't really come blasting out of the hole to get out).  "Creative!" you may exclaim to yourself.  Actually, its an inability to correctly put together a stop motion video.

What are these divers capturing in their dives?  Check out another Weddell seal team's (B470) YouTube channel to see some great underwater footage of the seals!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Terra Nova

At the most basic level, population studies (like ours on the Weddell seals) is all about input and output.  Births and deaths, immigration and emigration.
Simple.  Well, not really.  It's very difficult to figure out who's dying or leaving in an open system population.
One way we try to figure out who's leaving, is by taking a helo trip up the coast to Terra Nova Bay, to a small satellite population of seals, just to check if any of our tagged seals show up there.  We also make some stops closer in.  And this is what was done today, the helo picked our whole crew up at camp, and off we went:

Our first refueling stop, Marble Point, where two people live all season, simply to refuel helicopters as they come through.  And one of them is a cook, who made us some rice krsipy treats...awesome!

Finished refueling, getting ready to continue the journey.

Looking out the helo window into the vast whiteness...
the vast whiteness.  Those are icebergs frozen into the sea ice.  They will soon be released to the open ocean come January/February
The ice edge with Mt Erebus in the background.  Occasional penguins can be seen swimming or chilling on the ice edge. 

After about two hours, we arrived to Terra Nova Bay...

In color even.

Following the search for tagged seals, we refueled at the Italian base (Mario Zuchelli base)...and were very kindly and warmly invited in for lunch!

The kitchen...

The dining hall....great people, delicious food (a good change from McMurdo and field camp food)

Nestle chocolate, white yummy bars of something, prunes, and a hunk of cheese! (There was more food to eat than this...don't worry.  Lots of pasta of course, and the most awesome bread)

And the real treat!  An italian espresso shot.  They are SERIOUS about their espresso.

Just a helo shot.

One of the small bays we stopped in to check seals on the way home.

Monday, November 19, 2012

To Castle Rock Then!

Sometimes, McMurdo ain't such a bad place...
Grab some friends, and go for a hike!

(Of course you have to check out with the firehouse, makes sure you have a radio, and be sure to check back in before they send the search and rescue...)

Friends (Terry, Eric, and John) hiking to Castle Rock (blocky rock in background)...a 4.5 mile trot on a groomed and flagged road on top of Ross Island.

Eric on the approach.  Felt good to get my feet back on some real rock!

From here, we can see everything!  Mt Discovery in the background, McMurdo is actually hiding off in the distance between some of the exposed rocky knobs.  Beautiful day, but severely windy.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Camp Day Off

Today was a day off to fully recover from a cold, in which I spent diligently working on my thesis (not sure how well that helps in cold recovery), so I never got more than three feet from the huts... to fill the void in my own photos or videos, another entertaining video:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Quieter One

Some of you I know are in much need of a Weddell seal pup:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Team Shot

the B009 Weddell Seal Science team  (minus Jessica Farrer and Robert Garrott, unfortunately)
Front L to R - Mary Lynn Price, Jesse DeVoe, Darren Roberts
Back L to R - Jay Rotella, Thierry Chambert, Jason Jones, Eric Johnston

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Incredible New Discovery

A couple years back, Antarctic scientists made an amazing discovery that you have to see:

Or view here for better quality/ larger display

Sunday, November 11, 2012

South Base Take Two

Back at South Base to check up on some seals as part of one of our surveys, making sure they're all tagged (which they weren't...there were 4 new pups along with 2 adults that needed tagged) and accounted for.
Weddell seal photos taken under NMFS Permit No. 17236
That's me scribbling down mom's tag numbers, and pup's tag numbers and sex.  Photo credit to Jessica Farrer.
Poking about.  Photo credit to Jess Farrer
An atypical lunch (usually we are outside in the elements) inside the Turtle Rock hut, on our way out from South Base.  Our feet are dangling above a large hole drilled into the ice for diver access.  The tube down the center has a fan blowing warm air down onto the surface of the water to keep the hole from freezing up again.  
Lightly dusted mom and pup

"Hmm...what should I do after this?"

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday Tidal Crack

The tidal cracks are becoming more and more "apparent" as the season continues.  The cracks get wider and wider as the temperatures increase and the moms grind away the ice with their teeth.

Mom-pup pair at Big Razorback Island