Antarctic research

The great polar expeditions of the early 20th century paved the way for scientific discovery and exploration in Antarctica, but it’s only in the last few decades that we have realised just how important Antarctica is for science.

Today, scientists come from all over the world to study Antarctica's effect on world climate and sea level, its uniquely-adapted forms of animal and plant life, and much more. Discover some of the research being carried out in Antarctica, including by Natural History Museum scientists, in these videos and interviews.

  • An enlarged image of cyanobacteria, an extremely successful group of microorganisms.
    Extreme survival of cyanobacteria

    Join Museum scientist Anne Jungblut to investigate how cyanobacteria survive in Antarctica’s lakes and how these important organisms have helped shape life as we know it.

  • Dr Adrian Glover examining a giant scale-worm from the Antarctic deep sea
    Marine life in Antarctica

    Museum marine biologist Adrian Glover reveals the diversity of life in the Antarctic deep sea and explains why it might be changing.

  • Spectacular nacreous clouds form in very cold temperatures (below -78°C) at very high altitudes (bet
    Discovery of the ozone hole

    In this video, Jonathan Shanklin tells us how his team discovered the ozone hole in 1985. Find out why the ozone layer is important and if it is recovering.

  • Dr Tim Naish and his team in Antarctica.
    Studying rock cores in Antarctica

    Watch this video to find out how the study of rocks in Antarctica can reveal Earth’s past climate and how this analysis can help scientists predict the fate of the Antarctic ice sheet.

  • Members of the British Antarctic Survey recovering an ice core © British Antarctic Survey
    Ice cores

    Discover what ice cores from Antarctica can tell us about Earth's past temperature, carbon dioxide levels and the relationship between the two.

  • Landscape of Antarctica
    Collecting meteorites in Antarctica

    Sara Russell, meteorite expert at the Natural History Museum, has spent three summers collecting meteorites in Antarctica. Find out what’s involved in this insightful interview.