UAB in Antarctica
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James McClintock, Ph.D.
Mission Co-Investigator

Southern deployment - "second wave"

Journal By J McClintock

Posted On 2/3/2004 8:28:06 AM

While UAB Marine Biologists Chuck and Maggie Amsler, Kevin Peters, and Anne Fairhead prepare to depart by ship from Punta Arenas, Chile in early February bound for Palmer Station, Antarctica, I will stay behind to join Dr. Bill Baker, our marine natural products chemist from the University of South Florida, in the "second wave" of our Antarctic research team. We are currently scheduled to depart by ship from Punta Arenas, Chile in late March. While our departure date remains weeks away, Bill and I are already extremely busy with the completion of a myriad of details surrounding planning and preparing for the expedition (my 11th expedition to this icy continent!). A few weeks ago we had a meeting of the team Principal Investigators (Chuck, Bill and myself) to sit down and review our plans for the upcoming field season. We also took advantage of this face to face meeting to begin to lay the foundation for the preparation of our next research proposal to seek continued support from the National Science Foundation for our studies of Antarctic marine chemical ecology. The importance of our meeting in person cannot be understated, as long distance e-mails and phone calls do not provide the necessary climate for effective communication when brain storming scientific questions that build upon a growing edifice of knowledge that we and others have erected over years of study. Unlike most other science research proposals, we have to approach ours from both a scientific and a logistical perspective. There are plenty of fascinating scientific questions to pursue in the seas of Antarctica, but without careful consideration of how the work will be done in such a rigorous environment with its unique suite of challenges, a proposal will never stand up to scrutiny by the reviewers. For example, it is not good enough to say in your proposal that you will simply collect Antarctic marine organisms or place an experiment into the field, but rather you must describe in detail how you will knowledgably negotiate the rigorous weather, sea ice, ice bergs, and demanding dive conditions. Having worked in this environment for many years, our research team is in the enviable position of having first hand knowledge of most of these contingencies.

Our Principal Investigator meeting was most successful, and we not only reviewed our research objectives for the fast approaching field season at Palmer Station, but came up with several additional experiments and collections to be conducted simultaneously, some of which will target important new preliminary information for our next research proposal, and others that will assist colleagues we know who have asked for our assistance in their own research. Importantly, we also built a solid framework for a synergistic interdisciplinary proposal to seek continued support for our Palmer-based research program. As usual, I am getting excited about the coming research expedition and counting the days until mid March when Bill and I will travel south to join our research team. "Bon Voyage" Chuck, Maggie, Kevin and Anne! May the Drake Passage be as calm as a lake for you!


TitleFromClick here to change to descending sortDate Posted
Re: Southern deployment - "second wave"Mrs. Hellmers' Second Graders at Hall-Kent School2/11/2004 1:05:35 PM

Dr. McClintock,
We enjoyed your recent visit to our school, and we look forward to following the adventures of the UAB research team via this web site. We enjoyed viewing the video of Palmer Station at the "Sights and Sounds" link. Would you or one of the other scientists please write a journal entry about penguins or leopard seals while you are at Palmer Station? Please stay a safe distance from those leopard seals! We also hope you don't have to use that survival suit!
Good Luck!

From J McClintock, Posted On 2/11/2004 1:05:36 PM

Dear Mrs. Hellmers' Second graders, Thank you for your letter! I am so pleased that I had the chance to come and visit you before leaving for Antarctica. Your presentations about all you have learned over the past months about Antarctica were all excellent! I am so proud of all your accomplishments. I promise you that as soon as I get back to Antarctica I will write some journal entries about our adventures with penguins and leopard seals. And you can bet that our UAB research team will be very careful when diving in the vicinity of leopard seals. Remember I told you if we see a leopard seal we get out of the water immediately and move to a new spot! They are indeed beautiful creatures but need to be treated with respect and caution. I also promise to also include some photographs of the penguins for you in my journal entries. It was great to hear from you. Write again soon! Cheers, Jim

Re: Southern deployment - "second wave"Inez Shunnarah3/2/2004 8:37:24 AM

We enjoyed reading your journal in all my Science classes. We look forward to reading about your many adventures. Don't worry, we are keeping Luke straight while you are gone!

From J McClintock, Posted On 3/2/2004 8:37:26 AM

Dear Mrs. Shunnarah, It is great to hear that all the students in your science classes at Cahaba Heights Community School are enjoying reading about our Antarctic adventures on ouor web site! Please have your students keep checking in as there are certainly bound to be more stories of our exciting encounters with penguins, leopard seals, and other antarctic wildlife! Maybe we will encounter some whales this year! As you know, I will be departing very shortly to join my research team in Antarctica. And thanks for letting me know that you are keeping my son, Luke, straight while I am away! I look forward to hearing from you all again soon. Cheers, Jim

Re: Southern deployment - "second wave"David Drake3/9/2004 7:22:29 PM

Jim, I read about this wedsight in the UAB Report and logged on to get some idea of what to expect in my Januray 2005 adventure. I will be staying in touch and reading all of your new journal entrys. Take care and God bless you all Dave Drake

From J McClintock, Posted On 3/9/2004 7:22:29 PM

David, Great to hear from you and learn that you have discovered our UAB Antarctic web site. You will find it a rich source of information (and adventure) as you prepare for your first voyage to this amazing continent. Thanks for your best wishes. My journal entries will really kick off once I depart for Palmer Station at the end of March. In the mean time, don't miss the regulary journal entries of our team members already in Antarctica!

Re: Southern deployment - "second wave"Sadis Matalon3/21/2004 7:15:14 PM

Good luck Jim and watch out for these leopard seals!


From J McClintock, Posted On 3/21/2004 7:15:14 PM

Sadis -- Thank you for the "bon voyage" and the sage advice about those leopard seals! I am looking very much forward to joining my UAB research team in the very near future. I hope you will cheer those UAB Blazers on to the final four for me!!!

Re: Southern deployment - "second wave"Miss Caldwell's Third Grade Class3/29/2004 1:39:12 PM

Hello Dr. McClintock! Thank you so much for coming to speak to us about Antarctica and thank you for reading to us. We are all very excited to hear about what you are learning, seeing, etc. We are most interested in the penguins (especially Cole). He would love to see pictures! We also loved seeing you in your suit! We even zoomed in on the picture! Jordan would love to hear more about the animals you have seen since you left. Austin would love to see a picture of a leopard seal (but we know that is not really an option considering you can't get close!) We are thrilled to keep up with you on your journey. WE are thinking of you and will continue to write. Jamie misses you and loves you!! Love, Miss Caldwell's class

From J McClintock, Posted On 3/29/2004 1:39:12 PM

Hello Ms. Caldwell and all your wonderful students! It seems only yesterday that I sat on your classroom bean bag chair and read to your students during story hour. Since then I have traveled thousands of miles by air and by sea to arrive here in Antarctica! Tell Cole we stopped off briefly to visit some penguins in Chile on the way south. They were called Magellanic Penguins that they live in burrows along the sea shore. They are medium sized and some were just finishing fledging, which means they were losing their juvenile feathers and developing their adult black and white feathers. After six long days at sea we arrived here at Palmer Station. Yesterday we went out on a boating class to learn how to drive the small boats our group will use to dive and to collect animals for our studies. Guess what?! During the boating class we were visited by a very large leopard seal, who promptly made it clear who was the boss! He followed slowly behind our boat, coming up every now and then to grin his toothy smile! If Austin wishes to see a leopard seal picture, check out the journal entry on our web site by Kevin called "Diving with Friends"! And don't forget to mention to Jordan that during our boating class we also saw Giant Petrels, Fur Seals and Skuas. Thanks for and your students keeping me in their thoughts. And don't forget to give my daughter, Jamie, a big hug! I hope to hear from you all again soon! Cheers from Antarctica! Jim

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The researchers completed their expedition in May 2004. Feel free to search this site for their archived journals and responses to questions.

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