Antarctica Bromocarbon Project Weekly Updates – Week Six

On Monday we went out to our WES weekly sampling site and performed our now-routine snow and ice sampling, followed by the usual processing for bromocarbons, microbial parameters, activity, metagenomics and proteomics. Compared to previous weeks with very little detectable activity, we found higher microbial activity reflecting the overall warming trend over the last week.  We look forward to next week and our last weekly sampling event to follow this trend. We are also very grateful that our request to access different sites that are potentially thinner and that contain more biology was approved. Yesterday we went out on skidoos to a bare ice site near Cape Evans at the northernmost tip of the established sea ice routes.  To our surprise, the ice was not only thinner and warmer but also completely isothermal with convective fluid flow throughout with a lot of visible biology in it. While coring the hole kept filling with fluid making coring exceedingly challenging! Fortunately, we had a strong and tall morale helper from station to help lift the very heavy fluid saturated corer (up to 3 m long!) and ice cores out. Finding this site represents a Highlight of our time here.  Thanks to all who made this possible! We are in the process of analyzing these samples now.

Our outreach activities this week focused on providing hands-on lab experiences to individuals from different work centers and giving two remote Q&A sessions on Antarctic geology and life to a middle school (~12 students) and elementary school (3/4rth graders, ~50) classroom back home.  Below are some pictures and the time-lapse video clip from the Cap Evans work this week! 

Left: Ice core with visiable algae strands at the bottom. Right: Bare Ice Site at Cape Evans with ice corer in the foreground.


Microbial activity (dpm of incorporated 3H leucine into proteins) at subzero temperature in Antarctic snow and sea ice samples.


Watch this time-lapse video of the Team at work!