Plants That Eat Food

At 5 a.m. we came to a stop at the sea-ice edge about 10 miles north of McMurdo Station. A single emperor penguin was asleep about a quarter-mile away, its head tucked snugly out of sight. In the patch of open water our ship had created, a minke whale surfaced. Underneath the ice plain before us, far stranger organisms were living a double life.

The ship’s crane picked up a curious contraption of rope webbing with a rubber-disc floor. It looked like something you might use to hang a giant houseplant, except it had three scientists, a generator, and an electric drill on it. The crane’s arm swung over the side of the Palmer and gently deposited the people onto the sea ice—the first time they’d been off the ship in 12 days. Three more trips of scientists and equipment followed. Read on through the slideshow to find out what they were doing:

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About Hugh Powell

Hugh is a staff writer at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is on special assignment with the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. He has previously written for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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