Antarctic Undersea ROV

What Are They Doing?

The research team explored remote regions of the seafloor around McMurdo Station, Antarctica with a specially developed remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for underwater research. The ROV could be deployed through a small (15 cm) hole in the sea ice, enabling access to regions beyond scuba diving depths (at 40-170 m). The researchers located historical experimental structures on the sea floor around McMurdo Station and investigated the colonization of these structures by species of sessile invertebrates. This provided an unprecedented opportunity to explore and document the rates and patterns of ecological succession from one of the most extreme habitats in the world. The team also tested protocols for conducting sonar mapping with the new ROV as a first step towards creating high-resolution, bathymetric maps of the entire seafloor around McMurdo Station.

Where Are They?

The team worked in the waters around McMurdo Station, Antarctica. McMurdo is the largest station in Antarctica with more than 100 buildings, a harbor, landing strip and helicopter pad. More than 1000 people live and work at McMurdo Station during the austral summer!

Expedition Map


Before I left for Antarctica, Stacy sent me a diagram of a photo frame that Bob had designed for an underwater student experiment. My students looked for ways to improve the frame design, and then I picked up donated supplies from our local Home Depot. I e-mailed one of my past students who is a great builder of things – including a great big catapult – and Sam Parrott agreed to build the frame for us. Then, Janeece Henes, FALA art teacher extraordinaire, and her photography students took digital pictures of all my students, printed them to the correct size, laminated them with donated...
As 2007 ends, I am reflecting back on this entire year as well as my experience in Antarctica.  And I realize that Antarctica has permeated much of this year.  It was this time, one year ago, that I completed and submitted my PolarTREC application to ARCUS.  Then in early March I interviewed with Stacy, Nick and Bob, and was accepted onto the SCINI team and into the PolarTREC program.  Less than two weeks later I was in Fairbanks, Alaska at the Orientation Workshop with almost all of the teachers selected for the 2007 PolarTREC experience. The orientation was an outstanding experience.  The...
"Ice people say that when you leave the Antarctic, part of you stays behind forever.” From Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica, by Sara Wheeler I do feel as if I have left a bit of myself on this amazing continent, but mostly I feel I have taken much from Antarctica. I have memories and photos and new friends and many learnings to share from this amazing experience. Remember how I got to skip Monday, October 1st when I crossed the International Date Line? Well, today I got Saturday, November 17th twice! I started the day with an early morning walk in the Christchurch Botanic Garden...
"Under its worst conditions this earth is a good place to live in." This quote, by Henry Robertson "Birdie" Bowers, exemplifies the positive attitude of many polar explorers. Bowers was one of the five men on Scott's ill-fated return from the South Pole and perished with the others. Scott, in his diary, said of Bowers: "As the troubles have thickened about us his dauntless spirit ever shone brighter and he has remained cheerful, hopeful, and indomitable to the end". In my six weeks in Antarctica, I have seen many people exhibit positive attitudes and great...
"Ross Island is not a place for a settlement; it is a place for an elaborately equipped scientific station..." A prescient statement by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, when you consider all the science that is being done at McMurdo Station almost 100 years later! McMurdo may not be "elaborately equipped" but it has amazing people that can get great work done. Sherri Fabre is the carpenter that built special boxes for the trailer we pull behind the Tucker. She did beautiful work!  Sherri built specially made boxes that fit on our trailer Today is the last day Marcus and I...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

30 September 2007 to 18 November 2007
Location: McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Project Funded Title: Undersea Research with a Remotely Operated Vehicle in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

Meet the Team

Mindy Bell's picture
Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy
Flagstaff, AZ
United States

Mindy Bell grew up on an island in southeast Minnesota. Swimming in algae-laden waters, ice-skating around beaver lodges, and watching the wetlands come to life in the spring were instrumental in her decision to study science. Her liberal arts education at Carleton College included a term studying marine science on Catalina Island and at Hopkins Marine Station, where her fascination with marine life was fueled, yet her passion was for teaching rather than scientific research. After graduation, she took the ferry to Alaska and started teaching. After five years of teaching grade 7 to 12 science in Skagway, Alaska, and running a school fish hatchery, she attended the University of Washington in Seattle and earned a Masters degree in Biology Education. Ms. Bell now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she teaches secondary science at the Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy.

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.