Field Work in Antarctica
Affiliated Faculty Member Rob Dunbar and Cassandra Brooks (PhD 1st) have joined a team of scientists for a research cruise on the Nathaniel B. Palmer, one of the National Science Foundation's icebreakers, in the Ross Sea during February and March of 2013. They will be studying the region's annual phytoplankton bloom, a biological event so immense that it can be seen from space (now that's scaling up!). The Ross Sea is the most productive stretch of the Southern Ocean, and the richness depends on phytoplankton. The Ross Sea's plankton bloom is well documented in the height of summer when weather conditions are favorable, but no one knows what happens to all the organic carbon - the very source of life - as the continent slips towards the long night. Theywill be the first to trace the path of this massive flux of carbon through the water column as summer turns to fall. During this expedition, Cassandra will be contributing to a National Geographic Blog, and the expedition will also maintain a blog.