Author Archives: SFH

Climate change stunting moss growth

From the the January issue of Global Change Biology comes this story about the dominant plant species in Antarctica–moss. There aren’t many warm spots on the continent, but in a few coastal “oases”  beds of moss grow during the short ice free summers.  The dominant species is Ceratodon purpureus, and it is fed by melt […]

Antarctica’s mystery mountain range

What mountain range is as high and long as the European Alps, but has never been seen by human eyes? The Gamburtsev Mountains in East Antarctica were discovered in 1958 by the third Soviet Antarctic expedition, but no one has ever seen them.  They are covered with over 600 meters of snow and ice. It […]

Killer whale sightings drop

Thanks once again to the lovely Kimberly at Sub-antarctic Science for this news bulletin. Scientists monitoring penguins in Antarctica have also been keeping track of killer whales swimming by over the last decade.  They found that the number of sightings steadily decreased–from 120 to 26.  The researchers will report on this statistically significant decline in […]

Mertz Glacier calving leads to reduced sea ice

Mertz, a heavily crevassed glacier in George V Land of east Antarctica, has a tongue that protrudes 100km into the Southern Ocean.  In February, 2010 it split in half due to the collision with iceberg B9-B, which had broken off the Ross Ice Shelf in 1987.  The newly formed iceberg was called Iceberg C-28.  (It was […]

No Marmite shortage in Antarctica

Although Sanitarium, the maker of perennial breakfast favourite Marmite, has temporarily closed its Christchurch factory, the staff wintering over at Scott Base report they have a surplus.  Two hundred and fifty jars, to be precise, and plenty of Vegemite too.  They’d like to trade it for some fresh fruits and vegetables, and maybe a little […]

Antarctica beckons

Nothing too exciting in the news so I thought I would tell you about my upcoming visit to Antarctica. I will be taking the Quark ship Ocean Diamond on November 29th to the Antarctic Peninsula. The trip is a part of my research for a master’s thesis (towards a degree in science communication), and I […]

Octupus genome gives a clue about ice shelf collapse

The West Antarctic Ice Shelf is the largest and most unstable of the world’s ice sheets, and some climate scientists believe it could be capable of a relatively quick collapse causing a catastrophic rise in sea levels. These Turquet’s octopuses will certainly be saying “I told you so.” Although you wouldn’t, on first analysis, see […]

Antarctica stands in for Mars

I really wanted to write about “Nazis at the Center of the Earth” which is a new movie set in Antarctica, but this is supposed to be a science blog.  But you can read the review for yourself here.  Sounds pretty amazing, actually. Anyway, today’s posting is about the European Space Agency mission that proposes […]

Albatrosses breeding early

  One of the largest birds in the world has begun to breed earlier in the season.  In a study published in Oikos, researchers stated that the wandering albatross had begun laying its eggs an average of 2.2 days sooner than in the past 30 years.  Although climate change may be to blame, the scientists […]

First of Three Antarctic Telescopes Installed

Dome Argus, the highest point on the Antarctic Plateau, is now home to a robotic half-meter-long telescope called AST3-1, one of three planned for the Plateau Observatory or Plato-A.  The combination of three telescopes will give astronomers the ability to hunt for planets about the size of Earth around other stars , find supernovaes useful […]