We Blogged It!

Guest Blog from Grad Student Kate Lowry

01/03/2011, 8:29 PM by Lollie Garay
Kate next to the Getz Ice Shelf!<br/><br/>Credit: Kate Lowry
Kate next to the Getz Ice Shelf!
Photo Credit: Kate Lowry


I was thrilled to get this personal reflection from Kate Lowry. It’s always good to hear from young scientists who are just beginning their careers. I imagine in years to come their names will be seen in print and we can say, “I remember when…”

Kate is a graduate student at Stanford University with Professor Kevin Arrigo, and is on her first cruise to the Antarctic! The Arrigo team is conducting the phytoplankton studies.

Kate writes: “I am working with Anne-Carlijn Alderkamp …and Gert van Dijken to better understand the controls of light and iron on phytoplankton blooms. We have set up six major incubation experiments so far, with a seventh soon to come. Things are going well, and we have already seen some neat phytoplankton responses to iron addition and altered light levels. The story will not be complete until long after the cruise when all of our samples are processed, but so far we are optimistic about our results.”

Kate has been on two research cruises before this. The first trip to sea was as an undergraduate student in a joint oceanography program with Stanford University and the Sea Education Association at Woods Hole, conducted on a tall ship in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. Her second cruise was this past summer in the Arctic, where she worked on a NASA-funded mission (ICESCAPE) to study the ecological impacts of climate change in the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Strait. Kate says, “I have learned so much from each of my field experiences, and this cruise has been no exception”.

She adds, “For me, the ship has been surprisingly comfortable. I have really enjoyed taking pictures of scenery and penguins from the bridge, hanging out with my lab mates after work, and eating all the delicious food in the galley. I miss everyone back at home in New Orleans and at school in California, but I am thankful for the reliable email connection and the satellite phone for staying in touch through the holidays. “

“While it is sad to be near the end of our sampling time, I am excited to see McMurdo Station and to get back to Stanford where we will continue exploring our data from the Amundsen Sea polynya!”

“Cheers to everyone back home…” Kate

Thanks Kate, and good luck in the days to come! Enjoy every minute!!


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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.