Visit Beneath Ice
The stark lifelessness of the Antarctic surface only emphasizes the
spectacular diversity of life beneath the ice. In Under
Antarctic Ice: The Photographs of Norbert Wu (University of
California Press; $39.95, cloth), Wu and coauthor Jim Mastro take us
for an under-ice tour of McMurdo Sound. Moving clockwise from the
upper left, we see anchor ice forming in the water column as
supercooled water moves north from beneath the McMurdo and Ross ice
shelves in the polar spring and early summer. We watch the crinoid
Promachocrinus kerguelensis walk and cling to rocks or
sponges using "feet" called cirri. And we meet the emperor
penguin, a proficient swimmer and diver capable of holding its
breath for up to 22 minutes and exceeding 500 meters in depth. The
Weddell seal, however, dethrones the emperor, making dives lasting
up to 82 minutes and reaching the deepest parts of McMurdo Sound,
some 700 meters down. These and 136 more photographs and captions
offer peeks into places few of us will ever be privileged enough to
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Happy Birthday to Alvin! August 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Alvin, the submersible that has been so influential in ocean research, including the discovery of hydrothermal vents. In 2014, a retrofitted Alvin also took its first test cruise.
Heather Olins, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, studies microbial ecology at deep sea hydrothermal vents with the help of Alvin, and shares her personal tribute to the submersible on these landmark occasions.
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