Casey science

Expeditioner working on snow pit with helicopter in background
Working on the Totten Glacier (Photo: Maddie Ovens)
A carbon dioxide enrichment chamber on the sea floor of O'Brien Bay near Casey station.The 72 year old Basler BT-67 aircraft with its wing-mounted, ice penetrating radar antennaeThis small depression in a Casey moss bed highlights the effect of micro-topography and water availability on moss health. The moss above the depression is drying out and turning light brown.An automated camera used to monitor Adélie penguin colonies.

A large number of scientific programs are undertaken in and around Casey.

Since 2008 Casey station has been used as a base for the 'International Collaboration for Exploration of the Cryosphere through Aerogeophysical Profiling' (ICECAP) project. ICECAP is using airborne geophysical instruments (radar, laser, geomagnetic and gravity instruments) mounted in a Basler aircraft, to study the bedrock geology and structure of the East Antarctic ice sheet, and its glaciological processes. 

Casey was also the site for a world-first underwater ocean acidification experiment in Antarctica. In 2014-15 marine scientists used custom-made, semi-enclosed chambers that sat on the sea floor, up to 20 m beneath the sea ice, to look at changes to polar seafloor communities exposed to different carbon dioxide concentrations. Read more about the Free Ocean Carbon Enrichment experiment in our science pages and the Australian Antarctic Magazine.

Adélie penguin research is also conducted at Casey, including through the use of remotely operated cameras (which are also set up in colonies near Davis and Mawson stations). The research is part of a long-term seabird monitoring program to better understand penguin behaviour, breeding success and the impact of predators, and to detect increases or decreases in penguin numbers as a result of environmental changes.

As extensive and well developed moss beds grow at and nearby Casey station, the region is often called the 'Daintree of Antarctica'. The mosses are like miniature old growth forests, as a single moss shoot may be over 100 years old. Scientists are currently studying the influence of climate change and human impacts on the Casey moss beds. This work includes dating and mapping moss beds using drones, and investigating the tolerance of different moss species to UV-B radiation (due to ozone depletion), as well as changes in wind speed and temperature.

Search our database for more information on current research at Casey, or see our science pages to read about all our science projects in Antarctica.