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.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Thirty countries host over 60 permanent, year-round staions in Antarctica. The US operates three: Palmer, McMurdo, and South Pole. Our team is based out of McMurdo Station, the largest on the continent. 

McMurdo Station is located on Hut Point Peninsula on Ross Island, adjacent to the Ross Ice Shelf, and about 60 miles from the continent.

A close up view of Hut Point Peninsula on Ross Island, and the areas we are fishing: Inaccessible Island, and Cape Evans Wall. With the cracks in the sea ice and precautions we must take along the way, it takes us about an hour and a half to get to our sites, about 12 miles north of McMurdo.

On the north side of the Erebus Glacier Tongue, there is a crack in the sea ice that we must profile everyday in order to make sure that it is safe to cross. To do this, we must shovel out along the crack, measure its width, and drill holes to measure depth in several areas. Here, three sea ice teams that are working in this area look at the crack together.

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