GLarsen 2018.04 Whale resized
You’re out in a zodiac, the air is crisp, the ocean is choppy, the bow of the boat comes down off of a rolling wave to reveal the dorsal fin of a humpback whale in the distance. Trailing close behind is a smaller dorsal fin. You watch from a distance as mother and calf take turns surfacing for air – gracefully soaring along the shorelines of several islands on their way out to sea. Today, you are a whaler!

When I arrived at Palmer Station this past February, I set about what has become a routine whenever I am fortunate enough to visit and live at the station: an assessment of how climate change has altered the region since my last visit.

As someone who has chronically inhabited graduate student apartments, I have never lived in a house with a backyard. To my delight, Palmer Station has a “backyard” to beat all backyards, complete with seals and skiing!

sheathbill yoga
Question: Is this an antarctic chicken doing yoga on a rooftop?
Answer: No, it is Snow White…..

The Antarctic brown alga Cystosphaera jacquinotii
I gave the weekly science talk on Tuesday night, giving the staff and other scientists on station background about what everyone on our project is doing and why. In my introduction I used one of my favorite but always true set of lines: “Don’t let anyone tell you that there are no forests in Antarctica. There are! They are forests of macroalgae (seaweeds) beneath the sea right outside our station.”