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Crab Watch is Almost Over

12/04/2010, 8:07 PM by Lollie Garay
Crab team: Frank, Stephanie, Sven and winch operator Louie in the background.<br/><br/>Credit: Tish Yager
Crab team: Frank, Stephanie, Sven and winch operator Louie in the background.
Photo Credit: Tish Yager

Dec 4

 Marguerite Bay

Work in the West Antarctic Peninsula is nearly finished. Our featured photo shows the Crab Team monitoring the camera sled that’s at 1000m below the surface. They do this for up to 16 hrs at a time, alternating watches every few hours (the winch operator works for 4 hours a shift). As mentioned in the Dec 1 blog, this collaborative project is looking for invasive crabs using several sampling techniques including imaging with the SeaBED AUV and an epibenthic sledge as well as plankton studies using the MOCNESS. US PIs for the project are Rich Aronson, Jim McClintock and Sven Thatje; Swedish PIs are Per-Olav Moksnes and Jon Havenhand.

The Aronson group onboard includes PI Sven Thatje (Southhampton, UK); biologist Maggie Ansler (UAB); students Stephanie Vos (FIT) and Roberta Challener (UAB); engineers John Bailey, Frank Weyer, and Jeff Kaeli, engineer/student. This group of 7 (and about 2000 lbs of equipment) will move onto the Swedish icebreaker Oden once they both reach the Amundsen Sea.

The Swedish team is primarily responsible for the plankton studies, sampling for crab larvae. Two students, Rasmus Swalethorp and Sanne Kjellerup are doing the larval work with the MOCNESS. We await word on their findings!

On another note, Anna Alderkamp, a phytoplankton researcher from Stanford, is on her 3rd trip to Antarctica. Her research will focus on conditions that control phytoplankton growth in the Amundsen Sea. Anna will set up a lab experiment to see how different light levels affect phytoplankton growth. She’s promised to send us some images of her set-up when it’s complete. Anna’s work includes travels to the Netherlands, Norway, Australia and California. I asked her for a personal reflection on working out there and she responded: “Its awesome to work with a group of dedicated people in such an awesome place!” She admits she misses relatives, cooking and riding her bike, and in a few weeks she’ll miss fresh food too! But Anna will enjoy the holidays in the Southern Ocean, AND will celebrate her birthday (she didn’t reveal when) ☺ Read more about Anna on her blog: www.annasouthpole.blogspot.com

See ya tomorrow!



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Question of the Day

  • What are Polynyas and why are they important to study?

    Polynyas, are recurring areas of seasonally open water surrounded by ice.

    Energy and material transfer between the atmosphere, polar surface ocean, and the deep sea in polynas provide polar ecosystems with just the right ingredients needed for high productivity and intense biogeochemical recycling.

    Polynyas may be the key to understanding the future of Polar Regions since their extent is expected to increase with anthropogenic warming.