Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 16, 2010

Sorry for so silent, it has been very busy...

We've gotten in new science groups, seen science groups leave and our station population went from 24 people to 44 within a day.  It's amazing how much energy of the community changes with each influx of people. 
As you read this current entry, I'll do this cronologically so the most recent info is at the top of this entry.

Torgersen Island - Adelie Chicks January 6th

Well, it had been too long since I'd been to Torgy to see the penguins and their new chicks.  The Adelie's had been hatching eggs since about the 3rd week in December and the chicks grow really fast.  Their incubation period is about 38 days, they hatch, then the parents stay with them for about 3 weeks til they can grow big and strong.  Then the parents leave to go off and forage food on their own leaving the young penguins behind.  The young penguins group together to fend off their #1 preditor, the Brown Skua.  After they fledge which means get rid of their downy fluff, they take to the water and then will have to dodge their other preditor, the Leapord seal.

Here's a small colony of Adelie's that are on Torgersen Island

Here's an adult and it's young chick.  It's hard to determine male & female, the male is usually a little bigger and they're the ones that build the nest initially, but when it comes to feeding time, it's really hard to tell.

Here's a feeding penguin...

Here is an Adelie with it's egg and next to it's next is another nest with two really big chicks.  We think that the egg is a dud and isn't going to hatch. 

Here's a Brown Skua waiting for his next meal

LTER Arrives 3 January 2010

LTER stands for Long Term Ecological Research.  There are 26 LTER sites around the world. But we have our very own research going on down here at Palmer station and the Palmer Peninsula. 

Every year the first month of the year, the Edison Choquest (pronounced swest) Laurence M. Gould ship brings down science groups to do the same type of data recording every year so we have an understanding on how things are changing and report their findings.  Some of the things they study is the stuff that grows in water and the things that feed off of the things that grow in water.  For instance, you start off with the tiny stuff like bacteria, and what eats bacteria? Phytoplankton which then in turn gets eaten by krill and then they get eaten by penguins.  It's an amazing group of scientists and graduate students that come down to do this 28 day cruise along the peninsula.  Here's the LTER website for more info.

While the ship was at Palmer station, we received our cook who was delievered by the National Geographic Explorer cruise ship.  Stacie Murray had left a few weeks before for a medical condition with her tooth.  The only way we were able to get her back was to get her on a cruise ship as our L.M. Gould was full due to the LTER cruise.  Here's a couple pictures of that moment of her arrival.

On lookers watching Stacie unload from the NG Explorer

Stacie was given a packet of Safety gear. Bubble wrap mittens, a helmet, safety goggles due to she's been a little bit accident prone this season.  But that could be another full blog!

The National G. Explorer wanted to say hi to the LTER cruise and got a little close, but makes for a great picture!

The next day, the LTER cruise takes off for science.  It left behind a group of scientists studying bugs in antarctica and a group of Divers that are fixing our pier doing welding underwater.  I'll write more on that on a seperate entry.

New Years Eve 31 December 2009
Our New Year came with a party in the Bar with an eight memeber band playing in the bar, with room for a small dance floor and lots of groupies.

Photo by George Ryan

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