On Friday I showed my favorite field site to Dr. Andrew Titmus: Litchfield Island. And what a trip it was! This stunningly beautiful place host an astonishing number of moss and lichen species. The island is the tallest in the area, its slopes covered by massive peatbanks. The flora is representative of much of the flora that is encountered on the western Antarctic Peninsula. No other island nearby has this floral abundance, and it's easy to see why it was designated an Antarctic Specially Protected Area.
Dr. Titmus is the environmental program manager of the Antarctic Program. He talked to several research teams to learn more about the science conducted in this area, and how this impacts the Antarctic ecosystem. He already had a pretty good idea, because he provides permits under the Antarctic Conservation Act (ACA) after careful assessment of the environmental impact of any research. My permit number for Litchfield Island is ACA 2023-007. The act protects all life (mammals, birds, plants) and the ecosystems they live in. Such an important role to protect this beautiful wilderness. Thank you, Andrew!
Things have been in full swing since we arrived. All teams, contractors or science, have been busy. The ship is expected to return on Sunday, but much still needs to be done before then. More on that this weekend!
And how do we travel from ship to shore? Watch my video on my instagram.
We arrived early yesterday morning at Palmer Station. More photos will be posted soon about the sweeping vistas of the Gerlache Strait and Neumayer Channel in the early morning light.
For now - with most of the on-station training and orientation completed - Sara and I will be unpacking our boxes to get our lab ready for science!! Stay tuned!
One sophisticated piece of scientific equipment is the glider - it resembles a torpedo, but is built to navigate up and down the water column, taking lots of measurements along the way.
It takes much teamwork to deploy one. Once deployed, it can be left alone for months, collecting data along the way. It can transmit data when it surfaces and receive new coordinates if need be. Incredible!
Arriving in the Ushaia area I felt I was embraced by mountains on either side of the Beagle Channel. The same channel that the HMS Beagle went through, with young Charles Darwin seeing the same sights.
Although the circumstances of us going to Ushaia were not ideal, seeing the surrounding beauty was pure magnificence. Our injured person got safely transported into a small boat and taken to land. We all wish a speedy recovery. Though unfortunate, it could have been worse. We were in the same weather system as the Viking cruise ship, in which one person died and several others were injured.
As we were leaving Ushaia, I said goodbye to the colorful mountains, covered by trees and other vegetation. My student Sara and I will not see trees until our return at the end of March.
Onward to the Drake.
Human life is prioritized above all else. We had an injury on board - courtesy of the Drake Passage - and are heading North to Ushaia where the nearest hospital is. Dreadful that this happened - an experience like this sure is humbling.
Click on the photo to see a short video on my instagram page.
Growing up watching nature documentaries, I find myself now immersed in nature's splendor. As an ecologist I study how ecosystems function. Here I share with you my love of doing research in Antarctica - a place of sheer beauty