Welcome to this year's blog detailing our field season at McMurdo Station, Antarctica! We are a team of biologists from Portland State University who study the fishes of the extremely cold waters of the Southern Ocean. We will be collecting fish from McMurdo Sound, an icy body of water that borders the Ross Ice Shelf at 78 degrees south latitude. Our studies are focused on the impact of increasing water temperatures on the physiology of these extremely sensitive and ecologically important species.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


In February 2011, the sea ice in front of McMurdo station blew out and there was open water along the coastline for the first time in over a decade. Last season (Oct-Dec 2010), we were used to the safe multi-year ice which was thick and safe to travel across. This year, due to the dynamic activity of the sea ice interfacing with the Erebus Glacier Tongue and Dellbridge Islands (just north of station), there are many cracks that are too wide to cross by our tracked vehicles.

Most of our excellent fishing spots from last field season (in the pink area) are now inaccessible to us by vehicle, and we may have to fly to them via helicopter in order to obtain the variety in fish species that we are looking for. We are staying positive and flexible, looking at options for what we CAN do now, and hope to fish at some sites just in front of station until we can work out logistics to fish farther afield.

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