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NSF's Nathaniel B. Palmer sails with Sweden's Oden to study Antarctic Peninsula ecosystem
Date:12/13/2010

utrient for primary production in the Southern Ocean, and iron isotopes will help determine the sources of iron to the Amundsen, such as glaciers, sediment from the continent, or the prevailing oceanic currents.

As climate in West Antarctica changes, glaciers are receding, and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is moving closer to the continent. The ASPIRE team will collect baseline information on nutrient and ecosystem processes as a starting point for examining how the climate affects this dynamic and productive region of the Southern Ocean.

The scientists also will deploy a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) across a large area of the Amundsen Sea polynya, to measure temperature, salinity, the amount and types of chlorophyll and the types and species of phytoplankton and zooplankton. These measurements will allow them to pinpoint the precise locations of phytoplankton blooms and how these relate to nutrient availability, sea-ice coverage, ocean currents and water-mass properties. Researchers will also collect water samples to study phytoplankton productivity, zooplankton ecology, and bacterial metabolism in the laboratory.

Oden also is carrying a helicopter that will be used for both navigation and science.

NSF, which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program, and the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat have for many years cooperatively operated Oden in Antarctic waters. The Oden is an extremely capable icebreaker that also serves as a platform for research in the polar regions. Oden has made several voyages to the Arctic and the North Pole.

For the past five years Oden has also sailed the southern latitudes in Antarctic waters for the joint US-Swedish Oden Southern Ocean program (OSO). The OSO research cooperation also enables an icebreaking mission in McMurdo Sound to support the U.S. Antarctic Program at McMurdo research station. This mission allows ships to enter and conduct the annual resupply and refueling of the station and
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Contact: Lily Whiteman
lwhitema@nsf.gov
703-292-8070
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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