Scientist Answers

Did you submit a question about oceanography in the Antarctic, or what it’s like to do research at Palmer Station on the Ask a Question page?

If so, here are some answers…

Sarah Does climate change affect the salinity of an ocean?

Jennifer – Do Skuas have a big affect on the Adelie penguin population?

Logan K. – When and why did the penguins become endangered in that area?

Logan B. – Is there a reason why there are no penguins above the equator?

Sherwin – In Antarctica when you were putting the tags on the penguin was the penguins moving a lot and was it hard for you to catch them and what kind of tracking tags did you put on him?

Jared – How do you survive in Antarctica’s cold weather?

Kelvin – Did you see any other animals when you were going your research?

Sam – What types of vehicles do you use for getting around Antarctica and what types of equipment can go on the vehicle?

Max – How are your food supply and your team’s safety maintained? I’m also interested in how you study about the penguins life style.

Eric P.: Why do you use special equipment to find the krill?

Shuja J.: How does a phytoplankton bloom effect an ecosystem?

Kailyn R.: Has there been any recent updates on the penguins, such as their actions ect…?

Kate: Why is it in some pictures on your blog, some scientists seem to be wearing light jackets and no gloves. Is this due to climate change, or are certain sections of  Antarctic warmer than others?

Jennifer C.: I’m aware of killer whales being predators of Adelie penguins. About how many penguins are killed by killer whales while they are at Antarctica?

Gregory M.: How does the ocean tides effect the phytoplankton, krill, and the food chain?

Jennifer Chen: How big of an effect do killer whales have on the population of Adelie Penguins?

Hi Jennifer – Good question. We asked Dr. Kim Bernard, the leader of the krill team. She said that penguins do eat a lot of krill, but probably not enough to significantly affect the entire krill population. The whales that also feed on krill around Palmer Station have a much larger effect, she said.

Leonardo Hidalgo: How do you guys make this future possible?? its amazing!

Hi Leonardo – Are you interested in making a trip to Antarctica part of your future? It’s really quite possible to visit Antarctica as a scientist if you are interested and work hard. Several of the people at Palmer Station right now are undergraduates in college—the youngest one is 19. They’re here because they had professors who do research in Antarctica and need help with their work.

Jhoana Munoz: How can these penguins survive the cold climate and change of climate when fur is their only source from keeping warm?

Hi Jhoana – Penguins have feathers, not fur—but even those feathers are pretty small and not too good at keeping out the Antarctic cold. Penguins stay warm with a thick layer of fat (or blubber) beneath their skin.

AnnaMarie: I would like to know if measuring krill is a simple or tough task for Dr. Bernard’s team to complete.

Hi AnnaMarie – We asked your question to Dr. Kim Bernard, who leads the krill sampling team. Here’s what she said: “It depends on the weather. On really calm sunny days it’s easy. It still takes a long time but you don’t get as cold. If it’s windy and wet—snowy or raining—it can be tough. You get really cold. Normally i can’t feel my toes after the first couple of hours and then i still have to be out there for another five hours! In terms of the actual work, it’s simple when it’s calm. It’s a bit more tricky when there’s a lot of sea ice or waves. You have to watch what you’re doing because you don’t want to hit the instruments with the ice.”

Destinee: What is the effect of temperature on ocean tides?

Hi Destinee – I’m not positive but I don’t think temperature has a big effect on ocean tides. It would be difficult to find this out for yourself, but one way to start would be to measure the tides in a few places with different temperatures. Then you’d want to measure those tides in the same places over a long period of time, so you could see whether the changes in the tide were related to the changes in the temperature.

Bryannah: Can you clarify for me what mountain range crosses the continent of Antarctica?

Hi Bryannah – The mountains that cross Antarctica are called the Transantarctic Mountains (which actually just means “the mountains that cross Antarctica”). They’re actually part of the same system of mountains that form the Andes of South America and the Rocky Mountains of North America.