""Team UAB in Antarctica has been diving far and wide in the Palmer Station vicinity searching for algae laden with amphipods for our ocean acidification experiment. The hunt always yields algae but not always amphipods, much less the particular species and numbers desired for the ocean acidification experiment. The divers are sort of like Goldilocks looking for an alga that is not too big (to handle), not too small (yielding low amphipod abundances), but just right size (to fit in our special collecting bags and have good numbers of the amphipods of interest). As we swim about looking for that perfect alga, we often get distracted by other types of critters living on the seafloor. I’d like to introduce you to some of those cool creatures we have encountered – in particular those with many arms and many legs.

It’s a cold winter’s morning. You sit in the driver’s seat of a car and turn on the engine, giving it a few minutes to warm up before making your morning commute. Perhaps, instead of a car, you are on a bus, train, or plane. In all of these scenarios, you are producing a common thing. Carbon dioxide (CO2).

Palmer station has a maximum capacity of only 45, so everyone living here gets to know each other really well and really fast. Most evenings there’s some fun activity going on, which varies depending on who’s on station and what they’re interested in, but this season so far we have been having a scary movie series, video game competitions, card games, yoga, hiking outings and lots more.   One afternoon Hannah and I plus other station folks walked up the glacier to take in the sites (see photo of us below). 



I felt like a cuckoo clock the night before we reached Palmer Station. As I slept in the top bunk of my cabin, seemingly on the hour I woke and sat up wondering if we were there yet.  Peering out the porthole conveniently located at mattress level by my knees I could see our ship, the Laurence M. Gould (LMG) was still a ways offshore to go yet. Back to sleep. 


The last time we talked, I briefly mentioned the objective of our experiment for this field season. If you don’t remember, let me refresh your memory.

""When our group (Chuck, Maggie, Hannah, and I) boarded the LMG, more formally known as Laurence M. Gould, the ship which would take us from Punta Arenas to Palmer Station, I thought that it felt much more like a boat than any other boat I’ve been on.

""I had planned for this post to be about diving, but we’ve done much less of it so far than expected. Why you might ask? Because of the weather.

""My parents and brother hugged me one last time before I left my family to join the line for TSA at the Huntsville Airport. We would see each other again, but that wouldn’t be until May, nearly five months from now.

""I am going to expand on the excellent introduction Hannah gave you to the science of ocean acidification (OA) in an earlier blog. In doing so, I will highlight some of the bigger picture implications of ocean acidification globally. I will focus on two different cold-water geographic regions of the world and for each briefly highlight the impacts of ocean acidification on key, ecologically or economically (or both) important marine organisms. Both regions are ‘hot spots’ for ocean acidification.

""It was the evening of March 18th, 2020 at Palmer Station, Antarctica. As Station Science Leader (SSL), I had the luxury of my own office, and was there having a sobering conversation with Bob Farrell, the Station Manager and a long-time friend.

""After settling in, the team began preparing for our first dives, and there was a lot for me to learn. We practiced setting up a tent and starting a camp stove in case we could not get back to station due to weather and had to seek refuge on an island. We also learned how to tie various hitches and knots for use on the zodiac boats.

UAB Antarctica field team members UAB Antarctica field team members meet on campus before heading south. Keep an eye on this page for the initial entry of the expedition. In the meantime, get to know the group by reading their bios in Meet the Team.