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.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rusty, the hut 6 seal

While fishing for borks out in fish hut 6, we had a visitor:

Since the hole in fish hut 6 is large, sometimes seals pop up to breathe. While it is fun and exciting to see a seal in our hut, it usually means all the fish are scared away.

We decided to move a couple hundred meters from the hut, and drill our own holes with the jiffy drill. These holes are big enough for us to fish through, but too small for seals to use as breathing holes.
Drilling holes is hard work. It takes 45 minutes to an hour to drill through 2+ meters of ice. The drill is tempermental, and the wind is biting. Once the holes are drilled, we stand outside in front of the holes to fish. Fish are then transported back to the aquarium in coolers with bubblers attached, making sure that the -2C water is aerated. This site is about a 30 minute (bumpy) drive from McMurdo by Pisten Bully.

Pisten Bully and Fish Hut 6 in the background

Our helpers, Rickie and Keith, jiffy drilling with Mt Erebus in the background


Fishing, Antarctic style

Bravo 308 uses nothing less than the highest-tech equipment

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