Presentation on theme: "Life in the Polar Regions"— Presentation transcript:
1Life in the Polar Regions Antarctic Plant and Animal Life with Special Emphasis on PenguinsThe International Polar Year, which will extend from March 2007 through March 2009, is envisioned as an intense scientific campaign to explore new frontiers in polar science, improve our understanding of the critical role of the polar regions in global processes, and educate students, teachers, and the public about the polar regions and their importance to the global system. Projects are expected to involve a pulse of activity during the IPY, have multi- and interdisciplinary scopes, leave a legacy of infrastructure and data, expand international cooperation, engage the public in polar discovery, and help attract the next generation of scientists and engineers. The polar areas have many unique phenomena. Circulatory systems for air and water reach the surface, as do the majority of the Earth's magnetic field lines. Thick glaciers have trapped air and water from ancient times. It is easiest to observe these phenomena near the poles. Karl Weyprecht, an Austro-Hungarian naval officer, motivated the first IPY, but died before it first occurred in Fifty years later ( ) a second IPY occurred. The International Geophysical Year was inspired by the IPY and occurred 75 years after the first IPY ( ). This is the third IPY.
2Arctic and Antarctic: Perfect Laboratories Antarctic Peninsula excellent place to study species evolution – home to many amazing adaptations.Arctic – Historical Records deep in the ice – CO2Antarctic – species diversity is very low but adaptations extremely specializedDue to the sheer depth of the ice in Arctic a time capsule is formed recording thousands of yeqrs of history in its chemistry. Both ocean ice and lake ice is studied. Lake E (JBG)
3Map of AntarcticaThe majority of the Antarctic continent is covered by permanent ice and snow leaving less than 1% available for colonization by plants. Most of this ice and snow-free land is found along the Antarctic Peninsula, its associated islands and in coastal regions around the edge of the rest of the Antarctic continent. Even in the most inhospitable ice-free habitats, such as inland mountains and nunataks, life can still be found.
4Antarctica Characteristics Covered in ice and snow – little ice-free land for plant colonization“Summer growing season” (Dec. – Feb.) near freezing.High winds all year roundA virtual desert inland, several meters of snow fall along coast annuallyNo trees or shrubs, only two species flowering plants,( in South Orkney Islands, the South Shetland Islands and western Antarctic Peninsula.)Moss and lichen in wetter areas.Greatest species diversity along western side of Antarctic Peninsula, where climate is generally warmer and wetter.
6Challenges to Life at the Poles Plants and Animals must adapt to:ColdDroughtShort growing seasonLong days, Long nightsMore recently, small changes in climate can mean dramatic changes for life at the polesAntarctica Temps near freezing in summer (December-February), winter, -10°C and -30°C, inland at South Pole -60°C / -76°F. Temps fall as you leave the coast and as continent slopes upwards.Temp. at Vostok station -89.2°C / °F (lowest recorded on earth).High wind also large factor in climate - Average wind speed:37 kmh / 23 mph, maximum recorded gust: kmh / 154 mph Several meters of snow annually fall along coast but interior annual snowfall of a few centimeters, making much of the continent a desert. Driest place on earth.Arctic: Winter -60 F (-51 C), Summer 32 F (0 C) to 50 F (10 C),> 55 days per year with a mean temperature higherthan 32 F (0 C). Annual precipitation > 10” year.Climate change –reduced ice in bays of Antarctic, affects bacteria populations thus affecting krill, etc.Dramatic changes from small increases in temps or changes in rainfall…
7Basic Adaptation Response Avoidance or Confrontation MigrationResistanceHibernationPoikilothermsHomeothermsMigration - Escape to more temperate climes when snow and cold renders habitat undesirable or unusable.Energetic cost of traveling long distance is extremely high.Food along migration route uncertainUncertainties of disease, parasites, predators, and food availability at destinationFor many bird species there is no alternativeMost mammals of the north do not migrate - exceptions: caribou, bats, whalesCosts 10 times more energy to run a given distance than flyHibernation - Avoiding the problems of food scarcity and extreme cold by entering a state of much reduced metabolic activity in which body temperature falls many degrees below normal without debilitating effectsHomeotherms - warm-blooded animals - normally maintain body temperature independently of surrounding temperaturePerfected only in a few mammal species and no birdsRequires animals to survive for an uncertain period on finite energy reservesHigh energy costs of periodic arousals and rewarming - chipmunks, woodchucksBlack bears - highly efficient hibernatorsPoikilotherms - cold-blooded animals--having body temperature that varies with the external environmentReptiles and amphibians of the north have few other optionsSeek out safe hiding places under decaying logs, in deep rock crevices, burrows, under moss or leaf litter, or in soft mud of pond bottomsResistance - Staying and enduring the rigors of the season and resisting its stressesFor many species of plants and insects, complex biochemical mechanisms enhance their ability to survive freezing temperaturesProduction of glycerol inhibits ice formation in body tissuesProduction of special ice-nucleating proteins promotes extracellular ice formation and reduces the risk of flash-freezing with supercoolingFor winter-active birds and mammals who do not migrate or hibernate, resistance involves coping with snow and ice cover while living from day to day.High foot-surface to body-weight ratio acting like snowshoes--caribou, lynx, snowshoe hareStature and musculature to lift its feet through deep snow--moose, bisonColor change to reduce risk of predation - snowshoe hare, ptarmigan, ermine
8Plant Life in the Antarctic Region Antarctic Pearlwort Colobanthus quitensisHairgrass Deschampsia antarcticaTussock Grass, Falkland IslandsAdaptive responses – low to ground, clumping, delayed fruiting, hitch hiking babies on parentsLichens, Verrucaria, Xanthoria, Turgidosculum (Mastodia), Lecanora Mosses, Muelleriella crassifolia Tussock Grass Puccinellia macquariensisPhotographs by Rob Seppelt
9Krill Keystone species Adapted and Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Anne Viaulizabeth Anne
10Krill is CriticalKeystone- nearly every animal in Antarctic region feeds on krillLife cycle -Krill feed on algae beneath the ice. During the past 20 years the supply of sea ice has melted as temperatures have risen in Antarctica.Threats – over-harvesting for use as bait, chicken feed; temperature fluctuations that affect their food source (algae)Krill Cam -
11Antarctic Fish and other sea creatures Patagonian Toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides)Squid (important penguin food source)Antarctic Ice FishJellyfishStarfishActivities – Adapting to Ice
12Curious CreatureAntarctic Ice Fish have antifreeze proteins that keep their blood from freezing, instead absorbing oxygen through their skin. Some lack hemoglobin (Thus the blood is more fluid and the animals save energy otherwise needed to pump blood through their body)Because of their unique polar adaptations, Antarctic fish have generally been considered stenotherms, a term which refers to organisms that are capable of surviving over only a narrow range of temperatures. For this reason, they were thought of as particularly vulnerable to climate change. Karel Janko from the Czech Academy of Sciences and others are currently studying the fish for just this reason. Based on the work of Janko and others, we can guess that benthic species will have more available habitat as the ice continues to retreat, but we still don’t know the physiological effect of warming on their bodies which are adapted specifically for cold environments. (http://icestories.exploratorium.edu/dispatches/antarctic-fish-and-climate-change/)Julian Gutt, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
13Antarctic Mammals Seals (Leopard, Ross, Weddell, Crabeater) * Whales (Baleen – Blue, Humpback, Toothed - Sperm)*Orca (in the dolphin family, referred to as toothed whale)**Also found in ArcticUnlike whales all seals must return to land to breed. Seals feed by echolocation. Least common Ross seals, Most Common – Crabeater (actually eat krill!) Baleen whales bubble net feed: a group of whales blows bubbles while swimming in circles to create a ring of bubbles. The ring encircles the fish, which are confined in an ever-tighter area as the whales swim in a smaller and smaller circles. The whales then suddenly swim upward through the bubble net, mouths agape, swallowing thousands of fish in one gulp.
14WhalesOrcaBlue WhaleBlue Whale - The largest animal to ever inhabit the planet feeds almost exclusively on one of the smallest animals -- shrimp-like krill. A blue whale can ingest up to eight tons of krill per day, and it has 55 to 68 ventral grooves extending at least to the navel. These throat grooves expand to accommodate 40 to 50 tons of water and krill. The pouch, when filled, is the size of a large living room. Blue whales are solitary animals, sometimes encountered in pairs, and they range throughout the world's oceans. Humans have done the most damage to this magnificent animal, almost driving it to the brink of extinction. Blues have had complete protection by international agreement since Yet the three main populations have depressed numbers.Orca - Orca or Killer whales are the largest members of the dolphin family. Found in all waters, these splendid, toothed whales are sometimes called the 'wolves of the sea' because of their closely-related pack-like behaviors. Gracing the southern seas in abundance, Orcas tend to travel in small close-knit, family pods but can be found in groups of up to 50 individuals. Orcas have not been caught commercially since the early 1980's as a result of protective measures imposed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
15Seals Weddell – Most well known Leopard – Most ferocious Weddell – live under and around fast ice breathing through holes in ice. Can collapse lungs and stay under water for up to one hour., feed at night. Leopard – aggressive , feed on penguins, breed in small groups, live on pack ice and have been difficult to study. Only predator is the Orca.
16InvertebratesOn the whole Antarctic continent, the only creatures that really live on the land are insects.Midges and mites live in patches of moss that grow on rocky mountain sides, in spots that are sheltered from the wind, the insect eggs stay frozen all winter, and thaw and hatch the next year. The moss they live in often grows near bird rookeries, where it is fertilized by bird excrement -- called "guano.“Ticks and lice also live on the sea birds, penguins, and sealsThe largest land-living creature on the entire continent is the wingless fly, about six mm long (about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch).Project Explore, Val Olnes, Univ. of Minn.
18Bird Adaptations to Cold Environments Antifreeze eggsCold Feet, warm heartCozy homesDressing downFeathered snowshoesKnobbly feetPosing for warmthAntifreeze - Female birds lay their eggs one at a time –one a day or every other day, some incubate their eggs throughout the laying process, ducks and geese do not incubate until all the eggs in their clutch have been laid – a process which can take up to 2 weeks. Arctic waterfowl eggs survive temperatures as low as 10ºC or less – the equivalent of being placed in a refrigerator – but only during the period before incubation starts. The eggs do not develop at all during this period. Because they are all incubated at the same time, the eggs in a clutch all hatch at the same time, even though one egg is 2 weeks older than another.Cold feet – Countercurrent blood circulation in legs (Warmer blood from the interior of the animal flows to cold extremities, thereby moderating the temperature of the more exposed limb) and restricted arteriesCozy homes – Buntings and sparrows incubate babies until they have feathersDressing down – eider ducks have the finest, densest down of any bird, other fluff feathersSnowshoes – ptarmigan grows extra long claws and feathers on feet for winterKnobbly feet – ravens and owls have many knobs on bottom of foot to reduce contact with ice and snowPosing – shorebirds often conserve energy by making no movements when not hunting, others lift one leg or huddle under their feathersActivities related:
19Penguins in Particular Flightless birds belonging to the family Spheniscidae.17 species world-wide, all of which breed in the Southern hemisphere.Name believed to have originated from the Welsh "pen gwyn" which means white headIndicators/Canaries/Marine Sentinels
20World Penguin Distribution From the Galapagos to Antarctica
2120 million Breeding and Feeding total number breeding pairs of penguins in Antarctic - concentrated in coastal regions.Breeding and Feedingtiming of breeding is crucialcycle is timed so that chicks hatch and fledge when food is most plentiful.Success depends on availability of preydiet is fish, squid and crustaceans, smaller penguins feed mainly on krilladapt their diet to what is available, and their diet varies considerably with season.Fast while breeding, often taking turns foragingThey are very sensitive to environmental conditions. Breeding success is usually controlled by the abundance and availability of prey. If sea-ice does not break away, or krill numbers are low, then huge breeding failures can occur, and few chicks survive. Older birds are the most successful breeders.An increased duration of the foraging trips of sea-birds associated with a decrease in marine resources has been observed. (Croxall et al. 1988). It can result in a delay in the onset of breeding or, if breeding has already started, an increased risk of desertion by theland-bound breeding partner waiting to be relieved. Even if the delayed foraging bird returns on time, its body condition, i.e. fuel reserves and/or food stored for offspring, may be insufficient to insure successful breeding (Davis 1982).
23Studying Penguins Researchers of Note: K. Putz and Associates – Falklands Conservation InternationalJ. Clark and K. Kerry – AustraliaC. Shaw, University of AdelaideD. Boersma, Univ. of WashingtonD. Ainley, H.T. Harvey AssocG.Ballard, K. Dugger – Oregon State UniversityRory Wilson, Swansea Univ., EnglandWayne Z. Trivelpiece, NOAAP. Ponganis, G. Kooyman, ScrippsH. Caswell, WHOI
24Monitoring techniques Countingdaily over many months, to determine timing of events such as egg laying, feeding, migrationDiet AnalysisWhen adults return from the sea to feed the chick, includes analyzing regurgitated food, weighing birds, analyzing guanoSatellite tracking- Flipper bands, collars, crittercams, more recently micro-chips embedded in skin, monitoring location of penguins at sea.Correlatingdata from above tied in with information about the fish, krill and squid in nearby waters, meteorology, long term climate data
25Researchers by species interest Adelies –D. Ainley (H.T. Harvey Assoc), K. Dugger (OSU), Geographic structure of Adelie penguin populations: Demography of population change. Work out of McMurdo, on Cape Byrd, Cape Royds, Cape CrozierGentoo, Chinstrap – W.Trivelpiece (NOAA), Penguins as monitors of krill populationsEmperors/Kings – R. Kirkwood (AAD) P. Fretwell, P. Trathan (British Antarctic Survey), G. Kooyman (Scripps), S. Jenouvrier, H. Caswell (WHOI), foraging and migration patterns, colony locating, breeding patterns, diving physiologyRockhoppers/Magellenic – K. Putz (Falklands Cons. Int’l), D. Boersma (Univ. of Wash.) diving behaviors, accurate population figures, breeding and foraging, human impacts on migration and feedingAAD – Australia Antarctic Division
26Macaroni, Eudyptes chrysolophus, a crested penguin, most numerous of world's penguins, estimated world population of over 9 million breeding pairs. Breed on peninsula and outlying islandsPhoto by Yan Ropert-CoudertEmperor – March of the PenguinIn a new study, published in June 2009 in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, scientists from British Antarctic Survey, (BAS) describe how they used satellite images to survey the sea-ice around 90% of Antarctica’s coast to search for emperor penguin colonies. The survey identified a total of 38. Ten of those were new. Of the previously known colonies six had re-located and six were not found.Emperor, Aptenodytes forsteri - largest, only on Antarctic mainland. Large, well studied colony on Taylor Glacie and Penguin Ranch on Ross Island. Walk slowly, do not hop. (maximum walking speed 1.7 mph). Feed on krill, squid and silverfish. Recent satellite tracking of their excrement to find colonies!
27Current Emperor Research International Interest: Australian Team: working out of Mawson Research Station at the Taylor Rookery, British Team at Halley Station, American Team, McMurdo Station, WHOI (French and American) analyzing previous french data (early work(1960’s) by French laid groundwork)Key findings: 50 years of data from French near the Dumont D’Urville Stn. (Cherel, Prevost) Current work: Pt. Géologie colony began a sudden decline in the mid-1970s and has since failed to recover, probably due to warming winter temperatures that have resulted in thinner fast ice on which they breed (Kirkwood, Ainley)** Good counter point to Adelies as they breed in winter, Adelies in Spring. Emperors are extremely dependent on sea ice. The colony will disperse earlier if the sea ice breaks up sooner than expected; but if the sea ice breaks up too early, penguin chicks can become stranded on ice floes and separated from their parents. The younger chicks that have not yet fledged and still depend on their parents for food will starve.Breeding occurs in remote inaccessible areas making finding and monitoring their colonies difficult – until nowKooyman has discovered that the birds swim all over the Ross Sea--an area the size of France--in search of food, typically fish.
28“I believe emperor penguins can be a very good indicator species by which to assess environmental changes, because there was no environmental impact on the Ross Sea populations until about I think it's one of the only places to have remained free from human impact for so long and where we have pre-impact data about the environment and various species. In almost every other place that animal species are studied, scientists can't get away from human impact, which compromises the data."Roger Kooyman, Scripps Institute
29King, Aptenodytes patagonicus Like Emperors, King penguins make no nest, lay a single egg of around 310g, hold on their feet for entire incubation period - 55 days. Allows breeding in much colder terrain than species that lay eggs on the ground, negates need for nesting material. Eggs brooded by both parents in turn, shift changes of 6 to 18 days; the non-brooding parent goes to sea on extended foraging trips. Found on islands around peninsula.
30Adélie, Pygoscelis adeliae Studies conducted in several locations have revealed that populations of Adélie penguins are either stable or increasing, but since population trends are highly dependent on the sea-ice distribution, there is a fear that global warming may ultimately affect Adélie penguin populations. Adélie penguins colonize the ice-free zone of the Antarctic continent for the short summer breeding season, and their at-sea activities (90% of their life) depend on the structure and annual fluctuations of the sea ice to a point that they are sometimes referred to as the creatures of the pack ice (sensu Ainley). This intricate relationship is illustrated by the birds’ foraging ranges, which are defined by the maximum extent of the sea ice.About fifteen million Adelie penguins live on the coast of the Antarctic continent and on the Antarctic islands. Their average length is 70 centimetres and they weigh 3 to 6,5 kilograms. Adélies eat mostly krill and small fish. In October the Adelie penguin migrates South to the rookeries, sometimes 80 kilometres far. The colonies lie on rock slopes that are exposed to the wind, so that they are not buried by snow. For a nest the Adelie penguin makes a little hole in the ground with their feet, which is then surrounded with pebbles. After the nest is complete, the female lays two eggs. Parent alternate responsibility while the other partner feeds. After 35 days (around December), the chick hatches out of the egg. The first week the parents keep the chicks warm. Later all the chicks gather in crèches, which give their parents more time to fetch food in order to satisfy their growing appetite. In February the chicks leave the rookery, while the parents stay one more month to moult.Adélie, Pygoscelis adeliaeMost highly studied, named after an area of the Peninsula called Adelie Land (Adele, wife of explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville) Least conspicuous, very good camouflage from predators. Estimated at 2.5 million pairs, largest population near Ross Sea.
31Adelie EcologyTo reach their colonies the penguins must walk over several miles of ice, but by the time the chicks are ready to fledge (swim away and get their own food), the sea ice will have broken up, and the chicks will be near open ocean. Adelie breeding colonies must be on land because they use rocks to build their nests, and they must be near open water to gather food. For example the Ross Island colonies are located in places where sea ice is seasonal (only in winter) or in places with little iceBreed October-March, Fledge by May. Travel only 5-100km during breeding, up to 1200 km during winter feeding (in and around pack ice)
32Why Study Adelie’s?1) Studied over long period (complete data records extending back for 50 years) due in part to their large and ubiquitous population and the ease with each their habitats were accessed.2) the dry, cold Antarctic environment has preserved Adélie Penguin bones since before the last time that glaciers grew on Earth, i.e. since before the last Ice Age3) the major feature of its habitat, ice (both land (fast ice) and marine (pack ice)) is now ‘easily’ quantified and monitored by NASA satellites and other remote sensing devices; andProminent researchers: David Ainley, Kate Dugger, et al
33Adelies as Canary of Climate Change Populations emigrate, experience natural fluctuation and have been adapting to normal changing conditions for over 50 years. But as seen here, warming conditions cause emigration and eventual abandonment of a nesting site
34Other Climate Change Effects Besides loss of sea ice at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, a warmer atmosphere is holding more moisture there, resulting in greater deposits of snow. Adélie’s need snow-free areas to breed, to be able to find stones to build its nests. Heavier snow fall causes suitable nesting areas to disappear.
35Loss of Sea Ice Can Cause Complications Changes in breeding numbers of Adélie Penguins at three of five colonies in the Beaufort/Ross Is metapopulation, Colonies differ in size by successive orders of magnitude: Royds smallest, Crozier largest. Beginning with the early 1980s, colony growth rate and variability differ by colony size.Icebergs B-15 and C-16 positioned since February 2001, arrive just after the breeding season. In 2003, B-15 broke into three pieces. McMurdo Sound, west of Ross Island, is covered by fast ice, it normally breaks out to leave all of the Sound north of Cape Royds open. The new break up of ice, forces the penguins to exert increased effort and changes the propensity of individuals to occupy, visit or recruit to and among the 3 western colonies depending on relative access to open water
36Rockhopper Named for propensity to hop from rock to rock In the crested penguin family like MacaroniOne of smallest penguinsInternationally rated as “vulnerable” or endangered (Population impacted by HAB, may be unable to recover)Breed on clifftopsFeed on squid and krillMany Rockhopper penguins were poisoned by the Harmful Algal Bloom of 2002/03. It is thought that changes in ocean productivity and temperatures, possibly driven by climate change, prevent recovery from such population crashes.Falklands Conservation Society
37Recent Rockhopper Findings Putz: Population decrease since 1930’s – 80%Recently confined foraging to Falkland Islands/Coast of ArgentinaForaging trips are increasing in length and timeRockhoppers increasingly vulnerable to fishing bycatch as they forage along the Patagonian shelf
38Magellanic (Patagonian) Breed in burrows near shoreVery shy, non-aggressiveFeed on fish and squidBreed mostly on islands, esp. Falkland IslandsSometimes called “jackass’ due to braying callTim MasonTim Mason
40Magellanic Ecologynest in burrows, consequently spaced much further apart than surface-nesting penguinslike offshore islands with tussac grass or small shrubs, which are in abundance around the Falkland Islands, Tierra del Fuego and the Pacific coast of Chile. Such islands offer deep layers of soil for burrowing, dense vegetation offering protection from aerial predators.Referred to as Marine Sentinels; forage longest in areas of high prey abundance and will travel as far as necessary to find the densest populations. Their foraging behavior can be monitored and correlated to determine ocean productivity.
41Magellanic Ecology, Cont. Return to Breeding Site September – breed in October, Chicks hatch in December, by May are all leaving for the sea until the following SeptemberMagellanic Penguins undergo an annual catastrophic molt during which they are confined to land and unable to replenish fat stores. Penguins must therefore begin the process at or above an appropriate body condition. If penguins are too thin to complete the molt-fast when they arrive they will starve before returning to sea. However, if they return in too high of a condition they can succumb to heat stress in the Patagonian desert. Juvenile penguins begin molting in January, followed by young adults beginning their molt in late February, and finally older adults in late March. It takes approximately 19 daysfor an individual to complete molting.
42Current Magellanic Research D. Boersma (working in Porto Tumbo, Argentina): through extensive monitoring of 200,000 breeding pairs learned they now travel 25 miles further for food than earlier years.With increased rain fall associated with climate change, reproductive success was unusually low, nests filled up with water; burrows collapsed; and chicks got wet, became cold, and died.
43Cutting Edge Monitoring Concern that monitoring individual penguins using flipper bands introduces a bias (extra drag on the flipper).Recent IPY funding focusing on electronic identification of individuals tagged with microchips, automatic weighing and/or antennas buried in the ground to avoid any disturbance.In a more recent work on King penguins at Crozet, flipper-banded birds produced only half the number of chicks than those without and unbanded chicks were twice as likely to surviveHuge development is installation of weighing devices for birds leaving and returning on foraging trips.
44Resources Source for Food Web Game http://mudface.net/ Live Penguin cam at Cape Royds -Live krill cam in Antarctic -UCAR – Windows to the Universe – Penguin Research “Postcards from the Poles” -Antarctic Lesson PlansUCAR – Windows to the Universe – Penguin Research postcards
45Tapping into Ongoing work SATELLITES – students and teachers, part of GLOBE projectTEA Armada – Teachers Experiencing the Antarctic and Arctic (www.tea.armadaproject)PolarTREC – Nationwide and here at UMass – Julie Brigham Grette (Lake El’gygytgyn)NASA Explorer School TeamsSouthern Ocean Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics (SOGLOBEC) National Science Foundation fundedPenguinScience – a live penguin cam and continuous data uploading from the research by D. Ainley and associates, encourages teacher participation and provides relevant classroom activities,Penguin Project- ongoing research with journals and interactive links, including weekly updates. Dee Boersma, researcher.SATELLITES partnership between scientists, teachers and students using geospatial technologies to study surface temperatures of Earth’s materials,such as sand, soil, grass, and water. Data are collected using Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) protocols, which are then used in researchprojects that are a part of the IPY.PolarTREC From Julie Brigham Grette The Polar Trec teacher we are taking to Svalbard is Mike Rhinard -- see him at The Polar Trec teacher for my Lake E project is Tim Martin from Greensboro NC. at He already has his website on Polar Trec set up at Funded by the National Science Foundation and managed by the Arctic Research Consortium, the program allows teachers to participate in polar research, working closely with scientists. The goal is to improve science education.NASA Explorer Schools - Each spring, a three-year partnership is established between NASA and 50 new NASA Explorer School teams, consisting of teachers and education administrators from diverse communities across the country.National Science Foundation–funded Southern Ocean Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics (SOGLOBEC) project, biologists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and other organizations will study the winter behavior and distribution of krill, a keystone species in the Antarctic ecosystem. They’re studying what happens to krill over the winter, when the crustaceans are dependent on the algae that grow under sea ice, which appears to be shrinking. They are also studying water currents and other environmental factors.