The 2016 Antarctica research field team is on the ice, prepping and training for the season ahead. In the photo below taken at McMurdo Station are, from left to right, James Waxe, Terrill Paterson, Laura McDuffie, Jamie Brusa, Ben Turnock, and Kaitlin Macdonald. Photos by Ph.D. student Terrill Paterson, research field team co-crew leader.
The wooden fish huts that make up the remote sea ice camp where the team will live out on the sea ice are being prepared, stocked with equipment, supplies and food, and will soon be pulled out to the study area on the sea ice and set in place for the season.
Ph.D. student Jamie Brusa reported, "This morning, we finished loading (almost) everything into the huts. ... We have all of our flags ready to go in the gear hut as well as almost all of the rest of our gear, all of our freezable food, and sleeping bags and linens we will need at our field camp." Photo below by Jamie Brusa.
In the photo below, a tractor carries the weigh sled out to the camp site where the sled will be used to weigh Weddell moms in the pupping colonies.
The field team is undergoing a variety of training sessions at McMurdo Station including Global Positioning System (GPS) training which they will put to use during their field work in the Erebus Bay Weddell seal population study area.
Below is a photo of the research field team sorting and drilling the small livestock tags that will be used to mark this season's Weddell pups, and other untagged seals, as well as replace tags that may be missing or broken. The work is going on in the loading dock work area at Crary Lab in McMurdo.
Training at McMurdo also includes sessions on caring for and driving the various cold weather vehicles that will get them around the area, and snowmobile training to prepare for work all over the sea ice in the Erebus Bay study area.
Snowmobiles will be the vehicles the field team will use for getting around the study area, and back and forth to McMurdo. Safety is emphasized in training and day-to-day practice. In the photo below, M.S. student and co-crew leader Kaitlin Macdonald (r) and research field team member Laura McDuffie (l) select properly fitting snowmobile helmets for the season.
Ph.D. student and field team member Jamie Brusa drives one of the trucks used to haul gear and supplies around McMurdo Station. These trucks are big, and have engines that have been adapted for cold weather use. (Note the small electrical cord hanging from the right side of the front bumper.)
In coming posts we'll go over the sea ice conditions this season, and the different Weddell seal pupping colonies scattered around the Erebus Bay study area.
- Mary Lynn Price