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.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hut Sweet Hut

The story of Fish Hut 6.

It has been a challenge this season to catch one of the species we are looking for, Pagothenia borchgrevinki (or "Borks" for short). At the moment, we do not have access to the sites where we caught many of them last season, so we had a large hole drilled in an area where Brad has caught them in the past.

Borks are different from Bernies and other benthic species we often catch, in that they are a cryopelagic fish, meaning that they live near to the underside of the sea ice. They also school and seem to be more mobile than Trematomids. Today, we had a hole drilled a few miles from station and had a fish hut placed over it so we could try for borks. The depth at this area is about 800-1000 meters.

Accompanying our Pisten Bully was Steve Z, operator of the Challenger and Reedrill. After hooking up the drill, bit, and fish hut, we caravaned out to the site. Steve connected the Reedrill and started drilling into the 1.5 meter thick ice.

After shoveling around the Reedrill and clearing the ~meter wide hole, Steve pulled our new fish hut over our new fishing spot.

Welcome home fish hut 6!

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