Hello from beautiful Antarctica! My name is Lindsay Uzarski, and I am assisting Dr. Mahon’s lab as an undergraduate from Central Michigan University. I am incredibly excited and thankful for the opportunity to study the unique marine life that lives in The Antarctic. Seeing Antarctic invertebrates up close is a once in a lifetime experience that is teaching me so much about this fascinating group of animals.
Recently, we experienced what’s call a mud-ball trawl. The net that brings us organisms was completely full of mud, so much so that trying to rinse the organisms wasn’t effective. To make matters more difficult, we were experiencing some of the coldest weather yet. In order to identify and sort animals, we had to use a large sieve table and spray away the mud with a hose that sprays sea water on the animals. We also had to work fast, to ensure our samples don’t get frozen. Even as we were spraying the mud off, our sieve table was freezing together! After an hour or so of digging through the mud, everyone was covered in slushy-frozen mud, and had to be completely sprayed down before coming back inside. Thankfully, our cold weather gear and plenty of layers kept us warm the whole time. This entire experience was a lot of fun and very unique to Antarctica. We also had a great trawl, which had a good range of animals including many sea pigs, sea spiders, crinoids, a variety of annelids, and more!
Not only do we get to see cool things in the lab, but the sights we see from the boat are also stunning and unique. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing some of the most beautiful sunrises in the world, seeing gorgeous ice formations, and seeing famous Antarctic animals like penguins and whales. I’ve already had an incredible experience, and I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks bring us.
Central Michigan University