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.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A visual glossary

We live in a different world here in McMurdo, full of acronyms, confusing language, strange vehicles, unique critters, and a thriving culture. Here's a bit of a visual glossary so you can understand our references.

Ivan the terra bus: A large 57 passenger bus that transports people to and from the airfields.

Pisten Bully (PB): the red tracked vehicle we most often take out on to the ice. In this photo, we are standing over fishing holes that we drilled open with a jiffy drill. In the backgound is a fish hut we sometimes fish in.   
Jiffy Drill: a drill we use that is capable of drilling through the sea ice. We use jiffy drills to drill our own holes when there is not a large hole already there (usually for divers, inside an orange fish hut). Here we are, assembling the jiffy drill.

The jiffy drill  has a two-stroke engine on it (like a lawnmower) and a 10 inch wide bit. Each flight is one meter. At the moment, the ice is about 2 meters thick, but we had to use three flights due to all the snow on top of the ice. 

Hagglund takes a group out to Sea Ice Training

Haaglund: another tracked vehicle that can take more passengers (left). We don't normally use these vehicles, except for when we do various trainings outside of town.

Tomato being towed behind our PB, 2010
 Tomato (aka Apple) : A small, red, round, mobile fish hut that we can pull behind our Pisten Bully. Sometimes we will place a tomato out to further field sites where we can't put a larger, orange fish hut. In these situations, we consider our operations to be "tomato-based."

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