Skip navigation
0

There are many small ponds and lakes at Cape Evans, similar to Cape Royds . After a quick survey of the ponds, we concentrated on five ponds for sampling. We sampled for morphological, DNA- and RNA-based analysis of the cyanobacterial diversity, as well as nutrient analysis of the water.

 

In one pond we found a pink coloured layer at the bottom of the mats, which is due to the presence of purple bacteria that  are anoxygenic phototrophs.


 



Cyanobacterial mats in Skua Lake

CEvans10.jpg


Large cyanobacterial mat accumulations

CEvans13.jpg



Cyanobacterial mat with a pink layer of purpil bacteria  at the bottom



CEvans14.jpg



Water sampling at a small pond at Cape Evans


CEvans11.jpg

0
Today, we went to Cape Evans, where the famous hut from the Terra Nova Expedition is located. The helicopter flight took 20 minutes and it was spectacular with great views over the the McMurdo Ice Shelf and sea ice. A group of conservators from the Antarctic Heritage Trust has been spending the whole summer here to work on the famous hut. They have a cosy camp with a communal kitchen and dining hut and several polar tents. Actually, these kind of tents were also used by Scott and their design has only little changed since then. They are can withstand stronger winds than mountain tents. From our lunch break we had a great view on Scott’s hut . After we were done with our sample collection the conservators from AHT showed us the hut.


Flight over the ice

CEvans1.jpg


Polar tents at Cape Evans

CEvans3.jpg

Scott's hut  build during the Terra Nova Expedition

CEvans4.jpg


Conservation work at the hut by Antarctic Heritage Trust

CEvans5.jpg

0

Yesterday we sampled cyanobacterial mats and water samples on the McMurdo Ice Shelf. We went for the day to an area near Bratina Island. In this area, the ice shelf  is covered with a  layer of sediment and hundreds of meltwater ponds can be found. During the summer they forms a large network of meltwater ponds  and it has the most extensive microbial growth and largest non-marine biota in southern Victoria Land. It  has been suggested that the  area plays an important role as  source for inocula through dispersal by winds into the more extreme regions such as the Dry Valleys.

 

Although some of the ponds are only several meters away from each other , they can have very different characteristics. A large range of salinities can be found in the area ranging from fresh to hypersaline.

 

 

 

                        McMurdo Ice Shelf and Bratina Island with Royal Society Range in the background

 

                         Bratina3.jpg

 

   Temperature, conductivity and ph measurements at an hypersaline pond near Bratina Island. The pond is called Salt Pond and has thick white salt crust around the water edge.

 

 

                         Bratina2.jpg

 

                                  Cyanobacterial mats with orange pigmented pinnacles

 

 

                                   Bratina1.jpg

0
The most southerly colony of Adélie 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.


                                                                                          Penguin colony at Cape Royds



                                                                           penguin1.jpg


                                                                                               A penguin is visiting us

                                                                               Penguin2.jpg

                                                                                                    Penguin chick

                                                                                     penguin3.jpg



                                                             

0
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.




                                             small pond with lift-off mats at Cape Royds

                                                 

                                                  CR_mats1.jpg


                                                                 Cyanobacteria-dominated mats

    

                                                  CR_mats2.jpg


                                                    CR_mats3.jpg

                                                                     

                             

0

Cape Royds, Antarctica

Posted by Anne D Jungblut Jan 11, 2011

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:



http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/community/antarctic-conservation




Historic hut at Cape Royds

CapeRoyds1.jpg

0
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


                                             hutpoint2.jpg


                                                                           Discovery Hut


                                                hutpoint.jpg                

0

Scott Base, Antarctica

Posted by Anne D Jungblut Jan 11, 2011

     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.


                                                                                                    Scott Base

                                                                                scottbase1.jpg

                                                                                                    ScottBase4.jpg

                                                                              scottbase3.jpg                          

                                                                                                              ScottBase2.jpg