Elizabeth (Susie) Balser and Will Jaeckle, members of Illinois Wesleyan's biology faculty, participated in a research expedition to Antarctica aboard the R/V Laurence M. Gould during November and December of 2004.
Balser and Jaeckle were part of one of two teams on the ship. They were members of Project B-281, Invertebrate Dispersal and Genetics. (Read the research abstract.)
Each day, they filed a journal and photographs. To read their daily reports, go here.
The southernmost continent of Antarctica is the fifth largest continent and the coldest and driest place on earth. Antarctica separated from the southern tip of the South American continent approximately 30 million years ago and has been isolated since. During this time, many of the marine animals living around Antarctica have evolved and are now different than any other animals in the world. These endemic animals are unique to Antarctica and include worms, molluscs, echinoderms, crustaceans and many others. However, some of the animals are able to live in both Antarctic and South American waters.
The other project was Project B-307, Salp Biology. This research team examined salps, which are planktonic grazers that have a life history, feeding biology, and population dynamics strikingly different from other zooplankton such as krill and copepods. (Read the research abstract.)
Daily reports from the expedition were posted to this site and to companion sites at Auburn University and the University of Connecticut.
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