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VIMS team returns to Antarctic Peninsula
Date:1/10/2011

plankton" in Antarctic waters, and the impact of their grazing on local phytoplankton populations. Ruck is investigating how changes in energy stores among Antarctic zooplankton may affect penguin nutrition. This is the third Antarctic field season for both. Funkey, a Master's student in the Physcial Sciences Department at VIMS, is serving as a field assistant.

Bernard, who has been at Palmer Station since early October, is studying how changes in krill populations might be affecting penguins and other krill predators farther up the food chain. Krill are the keystone of the Antarctic coastal ecosystem.

Cope, also in his third Antarctic field season, is an expert in identifying Antarctic zooplankton species, and helps to operate the team's lab equipment and high-tech sampling nets. These MOCNESS devices (for Multiple Opening and Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System) have a series of separate nets that can be remotely opened and closed to allow for collection of zooplankton from specific depths.

Smoot graduated from William and Mary in May 2010 where she majored in Biology and Environmental Science. While there she worked in the Marine Biodiversity Laboratory at VIMS for two years helping with studies of the effects of environmental stress on eelgrasses, which provide an important habitat for crabs and fish in Chesapeake Bay. She also studied abroad in Australia where she completed a Tropical Marine Ecology program. For the last six months she has been working as a Fisheries Intern for Oceana, a non-profit organization focused on marine conservation. This is her first visit to Antarctica.

The Palmer LTER is one of more 26 LTER research sites located throughout the United States and its territories; each focused on a specific ecosystem. The Palmer LTER studies a polar marine biome with research focused on the Antarctic pelagic marine ecosystem, including sea ice habitats, regional oceanography and terrestrial nesting sites o
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Contact: David Malmquist
davem@vims.edu
804-684-7011
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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VIMS team returns to Antarctic Peninsula
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