Antarctic Seafloor Ecology

Update

Tina Sander and the team conducted PolarConnect live events on 20 October, 17 November, and 3 December 2010! Archives for each event are available online.

What Are They Doing?

By utilizing a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and by SCUBA diving below the sea ice, the research team collected data related to the benthic, or seafloor-dwelling, animals living in McMurdo Sound. The seafloor of McMurdo Sound is one of the few areas in the polar regions where benthic animals have been studied for over 40 years. By comparing historical data to data from the present, the team helped to understand changes in the benthic ecosystem. In addition, they studied how benthic species colonize the seafloor and how long it takes for them to become established. This work added to the knowledge of benthic communities, how they develop over time, and how they respond to changes in the environment. The team also worked on establishing a single database with information on the benthic communities of the McMurdo area.

Where Are They?

The team was based in McMurdo Station, Antarctica. McMurdo Station is on Ross Island, a volcanic island (with the southernmost active volcano, Mt. Erebus) south of New Zealand in the Ross Sea. Working with a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and by SCUBA diving, members of the research team collected samples below the sea ice of McMurdo Sound and the surrounding areas.

Expedition Map

Journals

plane leaving
The time has arrived. By the time you get this, I should be back in Christchurch. Half our team is already there or on planes heading back to the US. Yes, they were finally able to leave yesterday (Monday) afternoon after a lot of back and forth. First, their original plans got changed as we finished early. Then, with bags dropped off, beds made, and keys returned, they got the call “No flights – bad weather”! Four days of waiting for the weather to calm down followed and then they really made it out. That’s Antarctica for you. Things change and we have to be ready to adjust. The C-...
Traverse to the Coulman High Site
As we make our final preparations to leave the Ice, our underwater robot, SCINI, continues on. Bob along with Paul, David, and Dustin, are taking her on another underwater mission. Paul, David, and Dustin working on SCINI. After four years of first developing SCINI and then enhancing her cameras, thrusters, control, and navigation, she’s ready for a new challenge. After four seasons of helping Stacy and her teams see and understand what happens to communities as they recover from icebergs scouring the bottom communities, of doing qualitative depth transects in historical places as...
an EKG of the WATER DROP
With our jobs in Antarctica almost finished, we have at least one member of our group who already has plans for more time on the ice. The WATER DROP from the Delaveaga Elementary school in Santa Cruz was adopted by the hospital here and they hired him. Here is their WATER DROP story. Water drop found a job at McMurdo!! He will help the doctors and nurses at the McMurdo hospital. Now that he has a job arranged, he has to go through the Physical Qualifying (PQ) process. The WATER DROP from Delaveaga Elementary school in Santa Cruz arrives at McMurdo medical clinic. He meets Dr. Penguin...
Scott Base.
If you were to go to Antarctica, where would you want to go? Would you want to go to McMurdo or to a field camp? Would you spend time on an icebreaker or would you stay at a different research station? McMurdo is the biggest research station in Antarctica but there are about 67 other bases in Antarctica as well as about 30 summer field camps like the New Harbor Field Camp that we stayed at. The United States runs three research stations in Antarctica: McMurdo, the main station that is also the logistics center; Palmer over on the Antarctic Peninsula ; and the Amundsen-Scott South Pole...
Cecil and WATER DROP
Windy conditions have stranded our team. The part of our group that was set to fly out today is still here with not much more than their ECW clothing as they have already "dragged" their bags. They'll probably be here through the weekend as a storm is expected to hit McMurdo for the next few days. Looks like we have one more storm before we're off the ice. Enjoy the warmth for us and enjoy the following WATER DROP story. (Thanks for those that joined in for the webinar - we had fun!) Sally E. Walker shares her WATER DROP story of Fossils Do you know what fossils are? Fossils are the...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

Dates:
22 September 2010 to 30 December 2010
Location: McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Project Funded Title: Decadal Variation in Antarctic Marine Benthic Ecosystems

Meet the Team

Tina Sander's picture
Cabrillo College
Aptos, CA
United States

Tina Sander is living her dreams. Based in beautiful Santa Cruz, California, she has been teaching English Composition for Cabrillo College and English as a Second Language and computer skills at the Santa Cruz Adult School since 2003. She loves the balance of helping college students develop their critical thinking and writing skills, guiding adults of all ages through the wonderful, though sometimes intimidating, world of technology, and working with non-native English speakers to develop their proficiency with both computers and the English language.

Herself an immigrant from Germany, Ms. Sander has traveled and lived in many parts of the world. Besides teaching, which she started in 1999, she jumps in the ocean to play with the waves, hops on a bike to explore the mountains, and does yoga and rock climbing to stay flexible and strong. Ms. Sander is overjoyed to be part of PolarTREC and hopes to not only share the experience with many people but also to spark their passion for exploring and learning so that they too may find and follow their dreams.

Stacy Kim's picture
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Moss Landing, CA
United States

Dr. Stacy Kim is a research professor in Benthic Ecology, or how organisms that live on the seafloor interact to form communities. She has worked with Dr. Adam Marsh in both Antarctic and hydrothermal vent ecosystems, and will be diving on this project to help collect worms, as well as to continue assembling data to examine long term changes in Antarctic ecosystems. When she is not studying human impacts in marine communities and developing technology for underwater research, Stacy enjoys backpacking, climbing, and beach volleyball.

Bob Zook's picture
Moss Landing Marine Labs
Moss Landing, CA
United States

Bob Zook is an engineer with Coastal Conservation and Research, Inc. Mr. Zook first worked as a logistics support contractor in Antarctica in 1997, but now works in Antarctic research. Mr. Zook is the chief engineer that designed and developed the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) called SCINI (Submersible Capable of Under Ice Navigation and Imaging). The SCINI ROV will be used in 2010 on the IceAged project. He is also working with the ANDRILL (http://www.andrill.org/) project in Antarctica to develop an ROV that can dive deeper.

John Oliver's picture
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Moss Landing, CA
United States

Learn more about any of the IceAged team members at their project website (http://iceaged2010.mlml.calstate.edu/people/). Dr. John Oliver is a research professor at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. He studies the disturbance of marine benthic environments, coastal areas, and places where human activities have significant impacts on habitats. Dr. Oliver is also interested in watershed and ecosystem restoration. He has a long history of Antarctic research in soft ocean floor habitats, and is interested in long term patterns of community change. He is a diver and leader in the 2010 IceAged project.To learn more about Dr. Oliver's scientific interests, please visit his faculty biography page (http://www.mlml.calstate.edu/faculty/john-oliver).

Kevin OConnor's picture
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Moss Landing, CA
United States

Kevin O'Connor recently completed his Masters degree in Biology at San Diego State University is now a project manager at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. He is making his first trip to the Antarctic in October 2010, and he will be a diver on the 2010 IceAged project.

Paul Dayton's picture
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Moss Landing, CA
United States

Dr. Paul Dayton is a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and he began working in Antarctica in 1963. Dr. Dayton's researchinterests include benthic ecology; marine conservation and policy, evolution and natural history, and general ecology. He has a lot of experience studying the Antarctic marine ecosystems, and his experience will guide the IceAged project.

DJ Osborne's picture
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Moss Landing, CA
United States

DJ Osborne is an engineer/pilot at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and he has worked in Antarctica since 1996. Mr. Osborne will be leading the remotely operated vehicle work that is part of the 2010 IceAged project.

Jennifer Fisher's picture
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR
United States

Jennifer Fisher is a research technician and larval ecologist at Oregon State University. She has worked in Antarctic, at McMurdo Station in 2003 and 2004 and will return with the IceAged project in 2010 as a driller and diver.

Julie Barber's picture
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
Laconer, WA
United States

Julie Barber is a shellfish biologist for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. This will be her first trip to Antarctica, and she will be a diver on the IceAged project in 2010. In addition, Julie will be helping with education and outreach related to the project.

David Burnett's picture
Sandia National Labs
Moss Landing, CA
United States

David Burnett is an electrical engineer with Sandia National Labs, on loan to our project. He will be piloting the ROV, fixing things that get broken, and this will be his first time in Antarctica.