October 10, 2007
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Charles D. Amsler, Ph.D., and Margaret O. Amsler, M.S., veteran Antarctic researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), have been honored with the naming of an island in Antarctica by the United States Board on Geographic Names. The joint naming of Amsler Island is in recognition of their career contributions in Antarctic marine biology.
The 1.3-mile-long Amsler Island lies between Loudwater Cove and Arthur Harbor near Anvers Island. It is six-tenths of a mile northwest of Palmer Station, one of three permanent United States Antarctic Program (USAP) research bases. Amsler Island is the site of the original Palmer Station, built in 1965.
“Old Palmer” was used as the main research station until 1968 and then as an emergency refuge until being dismantled in the early 1990s. The island is a research site for a number of USAP research teams, including the UAB group.
Antarctica has no history of permanent settlement, and the board has named Antarctic natural features after explorers, scientists and others whose efforts have served to unveil the continent.
The Amslers join James B. McClintock, Ph.D., their UAB colleague, who in 1998 also was honored with the naming of a geographic feature by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. McClintock Point is at the end of a three-mile stretch of land known as Explorers Cove in Antarctica.
Charles Amsler, a marine algal ecophysiologist and chemical ecologist, has completed 11 expeditions to Antarctica, seven of those to Palmer Station and four to McMurdo Station. His first expedition to Antarctica, in 1985-86, was based at Palmer Station. Amsler is an expert in the biology and ecology of Antarctic macroalgae (seaweeds).
Charles Amsler Antarctic research highlights:
- Completed more than 370 research scuba dives in Antarctica, including 15 at Amsler Island
- Published extensively on Antarctic marine biology, including 16 peer-reviewed papers on Antarctic biology in the past three years
- Appointed as Station Science Leader at Palmer during three field seasons
- Member of the National Science Foundation’s Scientific Diving Control Board for the U.S. Antarctic Program.
Margaret Amsler has completed 16 expeditions to Antarctica, all to Palmer Station, including three winter cruises in the Antarctic Peninsular region. She took her first expedition to Palmer in 1979-80 and was one of only two women working at Palmer for part of the season. She is an invertebrate zoologist by training and specializes in crustaceans, including krill and amphipods.
Margaret Amsler Antarctic research highlights
- Completed more than 150 research scuba dives in Antarctic waters including blue water dives under the ice in the winter
- Worked as part of the UAB-University of South Florida chemical ecology team (see more at www.antarctica.uab.edu), in her most recent four seasons in Antarctica
- Co-author on 13 Antarctic-related publications, has written several Web site journal entries concerning what is now called Amsler Island
- Served as field team leader at Palmer Station three times
The Amslers will return to Palmer Station with a team of UAB marine biologists February-June 2008.