My time here in Antarctica continues to be one of the most remarkable trips of my life. The fieldwork, environment, and life at Palmer Station are great experiences. Here we have a great community with a diverse array of people, research endeavors, and areas of expertise. We have social activities after work, such as movies, science talks, and even games of dominoes. The people here are a select few. The cheerful exuberance of everyone is contagious. There are always smiles on faces and the warm feeling of home.

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Light is a pretty essential source of energy that most people don’t often think about until seasons change. At Palmer Station we have long days with high light levels when we begin our field season (late summer) and the sun goes down after 10 PM. Because of this we were lucky enough to see the green flash two nights in a row this year after work while the ARSV Laurence M. Gould was still here. Now the night is coming faster, and fall is quickly settling in. Near the end of our field season in June, day length will be about four hours of daylight much of which is not direct sunlight.

My former doctoral student, Marc Slattery, now a Professor at Ole Miss, could not believe his eyes. The giant tree-like soft coral, Gersemia antarctica, seen on the time-lapse video he had just recovered, had laid its trunk down against the substrate and rolled its polyp-laden branches in a complete circle! As thousands of tiny feeding polyps (tentacled projections) encountered the nutrient-rich muck, they engulfed organic particles, small plant-like diatoms, and tiny invertebrates. Like sheep grazing in a field, once the foraging circle was completed it was time to move on to greener pastures. The soft coral stood back up and moved across the seafloor by contracting the bulbous root-like base of its trunk. When it had moved to a new region of the seafloor, it laid itself back down, and commenced feeding again.

If you have been checking out the Palmer Station webcam ( recently you may have noticed that we have been having a wide variety of visitors lately. The type of visitor and duration of stay have varied greatly, mostly the length of stay has depended on the weather. Our visitors have ranged from a 12 meter (39.4 ft) long sailboat to giant icebergs and small cruise ships.

UAB in Antarctica’s initial days on station were a frenzy of unpacking science gear into labs and tossing personal gear into an assigned dorm room while simultaneously packing and prepping for our dive cruise time on the Pt. Sur which was described in Chuck’s last entry. It was a hectic stretch and everyone was ready for our first official day off since leaving Punta Arenas. Sunday morning until 1PM is the project’s weekly “day” off (yes, fuzzy math). Team members took the opportunity to finally get settled and comfy in their rooms and for first-time Palmerite Kevin Scriber, the opportunity to fully explore his new home.


Palmer Station Webcam