A Day in the Life of an Año Field Biologist


We didn’t run out of gas this afternoon, but we were dangerously close… We miraculously MADE IT all the way to Año Nuevo and back in the pouring rain without running out of gas. So as far as I’m concerned, the day was a success. Pro Tips: 1. Always be sure to check the gas gauge in your lab truck 2. Always bring rain gear. Despite being muddy and soggy, we went out in search …

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Gearing up for a Winter with elephant seals

Male e-seal

I had never thought about how large elephant seals really are until I was standing next to a sleeping bull elephant seal for the first time, feeling exceptionally small. I have been going to Año Nuevo with the Costa Lab since April 2016 as a fortunate participant in the field course BIOE 128L, yet I had never encountered a full-grown male elephant seal until recently. The males had departed the breeding ground by the time …

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Early Antarctic explorers in the Ross Sea


As you’ve probably heard in the news,  the Council for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) recently announced the creation of the world’s largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Ross Sea (see press release here). This is, without a doubt, a major success in our efforts to preserve the most pristine marine ecosystem left on Planet Earth, and making sure that the living organisms that inhabit this system are protected from exploitation. The …

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Meet The Onion


No, I’m not talking about myself (although I do have many layers). Work in Antarctica is all fun and full of glamour, except when it gets cold and windy (i.e. all the time). As I have mentioned before, we are conducting a series of necropsies on dead animals that we have to find before they freeze, in order to harvest fresh samples that will later allow our team to grow cells in the lab. It is a sad …

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