The most southerly colony ofAdélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is located at Cape Royds. I have come to Antarctica for several years now, but I never had the chance to see a penguin colony. Therefore I am very excited to be at Cape Royds!The penguins come to Cape Royds every summer to breed and at the moment little penguin chicks can be seen everywhere.
Penguins seem to be very curious little fellows and we would see them wandering around in small groups all over Cape Royds.
The terrain surounding Cape Royds is covered with many ponds that vary in size, depth, shape and conductivity (salinity). There are also two larger lakes: Blue Lake and Clear lakes that are ice-covered all year. They were named during Shakleton’s expedition because of their blue and clear ice colour. We were amazed by the variability of pond characteristics and diversity of microbial mats.
Back at the Natural History Museum we will study the cyanobacterial mats using microscopy and DNA-based tools to see if different mat types comprise different cyanobacterial communities.
Cape Royds is located at the west site of Ross Island (166°09'56"E, 77°33'20"S). Shakleton’s hut from the Nimrod Expedition (1907-1909) is located at Cape Royds and the Antarctic Heritage Trust did conservation work on the hut this summer. The Antarctic Heritage Tust is also doing conservation work on the other historic huts at Cape Evans and at Hut Point next to McMurdo Station , which is documented in a blog:
One of the aims of the field event is to collect cyanobacteria from locations where the scientists of Scott’s and Shakleton’s expeditions collected material 100-years ago and compare them with the historic samples. We will sample cyanobacterial mats on Ross Island and the McMurdo Ice Shelf.
Cyanobacterial samples were collected during the three expedition:
1) The National Antarctic Expedition (1901-04; Discovery Expedition) led by R.F. Scott
2) The British Antarctic Expedition (1907-1909; Nimrod) led by E.H. Shackleton
3) The British Antarctic Expedition (1910-1913; Terra Nova) led by R.F. Scott
Hut Point in front of McMurdo Station with the Discovery Expedition hut
The next three weeks I will be doing fieldwork under New Zealand Antarctica Program (Antarctica New Zealand), and I am now based at Scott Base. It is a great place. Everybody is really nice and the food is always great!
Scott Base is located on Ross Island and is only a 35-minute walk from the McMurdo Station.Since 2009, Scott Base is obtaining its energy from three windmills that are located above Scott Base on Crater Hill. Over the austral summer it is busting with activity: renovations, construction work and many science projects.
I'm Anne Jungblut from the Botany Department. Join me as I head to Antarctica to study cyanobacterial diversity in ice-covered lakes of the Dry Valleys and Ross Island where already scientists on Scott's and Shakleton's expeditions made many discoveries.