LARISSA - LARsen Ice Shelf System, Antarctica, a NSF-funded project.

LARISSA - LARsen Ice Shelf System, Antarctica, a NSF-funded project.
We are conducting an integrated, multi-disciplinary field program to address the rapid and fundamental changes occurring in the Antarctic Peninsula region as a consequence of the abrupt collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in the fall of 2002. A profound transformation in ecosystem structure and function is occurring in coastal waters of the western Weddell Sea. This transformation appears to be yielding a redistribution of energy flow between chemoautotrophic and photosynthetic production, and to be causing the rapid demise of the extraordinary seep ecosystem discovered beneath the ice shelf, providing an ideal opportunity to test fundamental paradigms in ecosystem evolution.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rothera British station

We were first treated to a tour of the base and a walk around Rothera
 Point. The base itself consists of a large science laboratory called the 
Bonner Lab which also houses the dive locker, Admiralty House which is used
 for accommodation, the new and old Bransfield buildings and Fuchs House,
 where all field equipment and recreational skiing/snowboarding gear is kept
. The new Bransfield building was opened in 2007 and houses all 
the communal space at Rothera, including the mess (or dining room),
 library, bar and the base shop, which sells clothing, postcards and other
 souvenirs. The view from the mess has got to be one of the best dining hall 
views in the Southern Ocean! Rothera also has its own 1-km
runway, which is utilized by two types of BAS aircraft, the DASH-7 and the
 Twin Otter. These aircraft fly people in and out of Rothera from the
 Falklands (DASH-7), and are also used to deploy field parties onto the
 ice-sheet and to remote field stations further south (Twin Otters). An
 American Twin Otter is being used by our glaciologists to access their 
remote field sites from Rothera’s airstrip. 

Rothera Station at sunset by Greg Balco.

The new Bransfield building opened in 2007 looking out over
 South Cove. 

Walking around the point gave everyone a great opportunity to stretch their 
legs, relax and appreciate the scenery and wildlife local to Rothera. This 
included Weddell seals and Adelie penguins. We also paid a
 visit to the base shop to buy our own little memento of the trip and
 postcards to send to family and friends.

Adelie penguins with chicks. Many have fluffy grey twins!

My evening was spent reminiscing with old Rothera friends and socializing
 with the new ones I have made onboard the NB Palmer. After several games of 
pool, darts and a eight-a-side football (soccer) game by the soccer buffs,
 it was time to return to the ship and for me to say goodbye to Rothera for
 a second time. A great time was had by everyone and all onboard were 
grateful to the Rotherians for their warm welcome and their hospitality. 

Visiting Rothera, for me at least, was almost like coming home. Every thing
 and everyone felt very familiar, and apart from the new Bransfield
 building, the base itself had not changed. It almost felt like I had never 

The Nathaniel B Palmer tied up at the pier at Rothera Station,
with Laura in the foreground atop Monument Hill.

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