Ice Stories
Exploratorium Home

Antarctic Research Project
Melting Antarctica

Measuring ecological change and warming at the Antarctic Peninsula

An Antarctic iceberg on the solstice.

Maria Vernet is a marine scientist from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego who studies plankton off the Antarctic Peninsula of West Antarctica. As one of the project leaders for the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research project, Maria has participated in many of the project’s 14 yearly research cruises.

MARIA Vernet
Maria at the helm of a zodiac (small rubber boat.)

The Antarctic Peninsula, experiencing some of the most dramatic warming anywhere on the globe, is also among earth’s most productive marine ecosystems. During winter 2008, Maria studied the ecology of phytoplankton (microscopic plants) and its role within the marine ecosystem at the Palmer Station Long-Term Ecological Research Network (LTER).

The LTER network includes 26 sites mostly in the US, and includes ecosystems from the poles to the tropics. Scientists study the areas from many angles, combining their research to give a broad view of how ecosystems work.

Tags: , , ,