Antarctic Undersea ROV 09

What Are They Doing?

The research team continued to explore remote regions of the seafloor around McMurdo Station, Antarctica with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for underwater research. The ROV was deployed through a small (15 cm) hole in the sea ice, enabling access to regions beyond scuba diving depths (at 40-170 m) and allowing the research team to survey very large areas of overlapping seafloor.

The research team used the ROV to locate historical experimental structures on the sea floor around McMurdo Station and to investigate the colonization of these structures by species of sessile invertebrates. The ROV was able to take videos and photographs of these ecological communities, which permitted the team to identify size, type, and species of organisms living on the structures. 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. The ROV's continued development and testing ensures its flexibility to be used for a variety of types of research projects in the future.

Learn more about Project SCINI at the official project website. 

Where Are They?

The team worked out of McMurdo Station, Antarctica. McMurdo is on Ross Island, a volcanic island (with the southernmost active volcano, Mt. Erebus) south of New Zealand in the Ross Sea. They worked near Cape Evans to perfect their ROV piloting skills. Then they made science dives at Bay of Sails, an iceberg graveyard under seasonal ice on the west side of McMurdo Sound. This gave them a comparison to the 2008 season's work under the permanent McMurdo Ice Shelf at Heald Island, and for the iceberg disturbed site at Cape Evans on the east side of the sound. They also requested permission to work at White Island, the only place where there are natural cracks through the permanent Ross Ice Shelf that are hundreds of meters thick, to describe isolated communities there and compare them to the isolated McMurdo Ice Shelf communities.

Expedition Map

Journals

Condition 2
The heat and humidity of the summer has me wistfully longing on occasion for a relatively wind free and sunny December Antarctic day. We humans are never really quite happy, are we? “It’s too hot.” It’s too cold.” “It’s too windy.” “I wish there was a breeze.” You know the routine! Regardless, I do long for the continent and the magnificent, mesmerizing expanse that awaits anyone who has been blessed enough to experience it and just some of what she has to offer. While I’m eternally grateful to have been given the opportunity to see real scientists and engineers working, troubleshooting and...
I'm Holding A Brain Cavity!
What A Week! Tonight's rainout of our tennis match allows me to share a bit about the wonderful experience I had last week up in Fairbanks, Alaska! As a 2009 PolarTREC alumni, I was invited to participate in their 2010 Orientation and ShareFair. (Yes!! They are grant funded for another four years!)   What a jam packed, fun-filled, inspiring time and hands down the best professional development that I've ever had the privilege of attending! If all professional developments were of this quality…OK…if MOST were of this caliber…well...the thought of what that would do to teachers across...
Meet Bernie the Ungulate   We spent the better part of almost two hours at The Large Animal Research Station In Fairbanks, Alaska to observe and learn about some Arctic ungulates. You're probably wondering what I'm doing in Fairbanks, Alaska touching ungulates, huh? Well, PolarTREC brought me up here to meet and share my PolarTREC experience--and infinite wisdom--with the 2010 TREC'ers. I'm an OAE don't ya know!    But, if you're wondering if I'll tell you what an ungulate is, I'm not.    See if you can figure out which Arctic...
Hey everyone...this is just to let you know that I'm home...exhausted but home. And, because I had confirmed reservations, I had no problems with flights on the east coast...except our flight from Philly was delayed because we didn't have a flight crew...and then it took them over 45 minutes to find the co-pilot.(I'm not sure how you "lose" a pilot for that long, but...) Many on both my Charlotte flight and Philly flight had been stuck in the airport since Friday. Even US Air flight crews had been stuck and likewise had no clue as to what was happening. Apparently, US Air's employee care is...
I happened to look at the date yesterday and realized that we are half way through December and on the cusp of a new year. And, we are officially done here. I was able to snag a hike up Observation Hill and then a tour of Discovery Hut Sunday afternoon. After a steep climb...finally the cross which was constructed as a memorial to Scott and his men. They perished during the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the Pole. "To strive, to seek, so find and not to yield." These are the words etched upon this cross. Whose words are they, and why do you think these words were chosen? Me...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

Dates:
29 October 2009 to 18 December 2009
Location: McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Project Funded Title: Development of a Remotely Operated Vehicle for Under Sea Ice Research in Polar Environments

Meet the Team

Michele Cross's picture
Corning East High School
Corning, NY
United States

Originally from upstate New York, Michele Cross is a special education teacher who currently teaches an Introduction to Science class and a variety of English classes at Corning East High School in Corning, New York. When not in the classroom, Mrs. Cross can be found coaching both tennis and soccer for her school district. Likewise, she enjoys cycling, hiking, and gardening in the summer months and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. She particularly loves spending summers with her niece and nephew in Colorado. While climbing her first 14,000-foot mountain a couple of summers ago, she learned that her hair could stand on end even in the midst of hail and rain due to the highly charged air around her! Mrs. Cross is thrilled beyond belief to be given this opportunity, and she hopes that it will inspire her students to dream great 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.