JD Middle School
Students from Jamesville-Dewitt Middle School communicated by email with Professor Kieber as he pursued his research aboard the research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer in Antarctica's Ross Sea. The seventh graders in Class 1 Science submitted questions that were forwarded to Dr. Kieber aboard ship. Questions and answers are posted below.
Questions for Professor Kieber
Click on the images to see full-sized versions
From Sarah: How high are the icebergs actually?
From Mike B.: Have you seen any emperor penguins?
From Evan: Have you any problems (gotten stuck) from icebergs?
|November 18 -- No. We steer clear of icebergs at all times, especially the large ones, because they can become unstable and flip over, and in the process they could possibly ram into the ship and cause serious damage. Remember that, in general, most of the iceberg is underwater.|
From Connor: What kinds of clothes do you have to wear?
From Gagan: What dangers are there in the Arctic?
From Nick: What kind of food do they eat?
|November 18 -- We eat all the same food that you eat at home: roast beef, hamburgers, fish, pork, salads, soups, spaghetti, eggs, cereal, milk orange juice, desserts, etc. The food is prepared in the galley for us, and meals are at set times during the day--7:30-8:30 breakfast, 11:30-12:30 lunch, and dinner 1730-1830. Snacks, juice fruit, water, coffee, tea, etc are available throughout the day.|
From Jamie: Did they discover any new info?
|November 18 -- No. We have made no new discoveries yet other than finding out that emperor penguins have no fear of humans--probably because they have no predators on land. We are still in the early stages of our cruise (it took us almost 2 weeks to get here), but over the next two weeks we expect to make some very interesting observations regarding sulfur transformations in Antarctic waters. However, it will take awhile to evaluate most of our results because the analyses that we perform are very time consuming and there are a lot of data to compile and evaluate. In fact it may take up to a year to complete our data analyses.|
From Evan (again): Do you have enough food to last?
|November 18 -- Evan, we have enough food to last months! There is a huge food storage locker and freezer, so there's no worries in going hungry even for the fifty-five crew and science personnel on board the Palmer during our research cruise.|
So far, have you seen any big differences from last time? (sent 10/27)
|07:33 local time (New Zealand) 10/31/05 - Answer: Yes. Last year we left New Zealand for Antarctica in December. This is the summer in the southern hemisphere. As you might expect, it was a lot warmer then and it never really got dark-- the sun never set. The seawater was bursting with life, just like the plants and animals in Syracuse during our summer. This year we are going to Antarctica in the spring-early summer. This is a time when the plankton are waking up. It is much colder, and the sun is not as high above the horizon as it is in the summer. There are also low ozone concentrations in the atmosphere (in the layer called the stratosphere) resulting in an "ozone hole." This ozone hole allows more ultraviolet light or UV to enter into the oceans. The UV is the wavelengths of sun light that you can't see and which can give you a sun burn! The higher the ozone levels are in the atmosphere the more the atmosphere acts as a sunsrceen protecting us from UV sunburn. This UV light also slows down the growth of the plankton. As a result, this year during the spring, the phytoplankton (or algae) are growing very slowly as are the bacteria. The chemical changes in the seawater also happen at a slower speed in the spring, especially those reactions that are started by absorbing sunlight. Our goal this year is to see how the change in seasons from the spring to the summer affect the changes in the chemistry and biology in the seawater, and how these changes affect the amount of biologically-produced organic sulfur into the atmosphere.|
Have you seen any penquins? (sent 10/27)
|07:33 local time (New Zealand) 10/31/05 - Answer: Not yet, but when we reach the edge of the ice shelf tomorrow we certainly will, and I'll send you some pictures of them. However, we have seen lots and lots of birds that live most of their time at sea. In my email, I have attached pictures of two very common birds that we saw: the black-browed albatross and the Antarctic petrel. The black-browed albatross is a very large bird with a wing span of over 2 meters (approximately 7 feet)--it's wing-span is longer than I am tall! It is a beautiful bird that likes to glide just feet above the ocean waves. Its main food source is the little shrimp in the ocean called krill. In fact this is the main food source for many creatures in Antarctica including most of the birds. In addition to these two birds, we also saw a wandering albatross, which has a wing span of almost 10 feet--that's the height of a basketball net.|