Monday, February 16, 2009

Long Term Ecological Research Cruise

Last week we received some happy visitors to station. These were the researchers and students of the annual Long Term Ecological Research (LTER)
Science Cruise. LTER is a scientific partnership that brings together scientists in a number of different disciplines together to understand the peninsula region of Antarctica. Most of the work is open ocean - the ships stops at about 100 predetermined ocean locations to study the water chemistry and biology of the ocean column and bottom. Another part of the work involved dropping seabird researchers on islands (including previously unstudied islands) to survey and study the populations of animals.

The work aboard ship was extremely demanding. Researchers and assistants worked around the clock in 12 hour shifts for 32 days. The reward was a fantastically productive study session with several firsts: cooperation between the ship and the British station Rothera in deploying underwater gliders, confirmation of Adelie populations in a predicted (but previously uncontacted) spot.

You can see more pictures of their cruise in the photo gallery.

We were happy to have the battle-weary but still energetic crew stop at Palmer at the end of their cruise. They will be leaving several researchers with us to continue their work here and taking others home.