Antarctic video gallery
Anzac Day at Casey research station
I spent 18 years in the military. I was in the Australian Army as a communications technician, and I was operationally deployed on a number of occasions. The most significant of those were to East Timor and to Iraq.
For me, Anzac Day is a chance to reflect on the sacrifices made by all of those people that served before me, to remember the people that I served with, and to be thankful for the soldiers, sailors and airmen who are still serving today.
This year at Casey, we'll be marking Anzac Day with a gunfire breakfast followed up by a dawn service, and then after that, hopefully a couple of games of two-up. For me, it's a special occasion to recognise; to come together as a station community, and to take a step back from our everyday lives to appreciate the sacrifices that have gone into making Australia the country that it is today, and providing us with the opportunities that we have such as working here in Antarctica.
Whale research video
Australian Antarctic Division whale scientist Dr Elanor Bell
We were studying humpback and minke whales, specifically looking at their foraging ecology, which means where they feed, how they feed, where they're travelling to in order to feed, and looking at their prey as well. We deployed two different types of tag. The first was a video suction cup tag, which has all sorts of really specialist motion sensors inside it as well as a video camera at the front. We were deploying those on the sleepy logging whale at the surface. We'd sort of creep up to them in the boat, we'd slap a tag on their back.
The video records where the whales - where they're going, how deep they're diving, and what they're actually eating. So you see footage of them actually lunging at dense krill swarms in the open water. The limpet tags are different. They are small implantable tags that we were deploying on the minke whales. They stay in the dorsal fin for up to two months, and they transmit the location data and dive data from that whale. And we want to understand what they need, and how these climate changes or these other anthropogenic changes might impact the whales in the future.
Arts Fellows in Antarctica
Australian Antarctic Division Chief Medical Officer Dr Jeff Ayton:
So the polar medicine unit is the unit in the Australian Antarctic Division that looks after the health and well-being of people in Australia's Antarctic program, in the Antarctic. So, in Antarctica and Macquarie Island, and ships and planes in between.
We employ generalist doctors, who are generally rural or remote general practitioners from Australia, and we train them and add additional skills to their scope of practice; like, there's some surgery, I believe they undertake an anaesthetic.
The expeditioners are well-screened, and they are generally well and healthy, but when things go wrong, things can go really wrong.
Any medical evacuation is challenging in Antarctica, and may only be possible over summer. Without hope of winter evacuation, it's an extreme environment. We've got isolated doctors down there, who are isolated for up to nine months of the year, which is very challenging. They're on their own, supported by lay-surgical assistance and a telemedicine link back to Kingston in Hobart, Tasmania.
Hydroponics in Antarctica
Adélie penguin population
Seabird Ecologist - Dr Louise Emmerson
The purpose of this work was to bring together various elements of research to try and identify what pressures or threats there were on the Antarctic breeding seabirds. For this work, we were particularly focusing on the terrestrial environment where the birds were breeding, as well as the marine environment where the birds were foraging.
We used a long term 25-year mark re-sight program to try and estimate how many non-breeders there were in the population, and how this number related to the number of breeders.
So we estimate that the total population, which comprises of the breeders and the non-breeders, is around 5.9 million birds in East Antarctica. When we extrapolate that out to the entire continent, that's between 14 to 16 million birds.
In East Antarctica, the Adélie penguins are primarily eating krill but they also eat some fish as well, and we're trying to understand exactly how much of that has any overlap with potential fishing industry.
There were a lot of breeding Adélie penguins within very close proximity to the Antarctic stations. The Adélie penguins are trying to find locations to breed, which are ice-free and they're very close to open water. Our results can be used to identify areas which may need enhanced protection in the future.
Douglas Mawson reading a proclamation during BANZARE
Douglas Mawson Proclamation during BANZARE
February 7, 1933
I, sir Douglas Mawson, do hereby so claim and declare to all men that from and after the date of the present, the full sovereignty of the territory that we have discovered and explored south of latitude sixty-four degrees and as far as the south pole, this in his majesty King George the fifth, his heirs and successors, forever.
Insightful approach to aging Antarctic krill
Dr So Kawaguchi: This is very exciting. Knowing the age of krill is a very very long research questions - more than 50 years, because krill doesn't have any hard parts that record their age. To find out their age, we used eye stalks.
What we did was to slice those eye stalks into really thin slices and then polish it, and then count the annual bands that have been created. The concept is the same as the annual tree rings.
Krill is the fundamental food source for most of the higher predators, like whales, penguins, seals, in the Antarctic Ocean.
If there's any change in krill populations, that will certainly have a fundamental impact in the structure of the ecosystem itself. So it's really important to know how old the krill are, because that will be used for the fisheries management. We can actually retrospectively go in to preserve samples, like about a hundred years ago, and then compare with the recent krill - we'll be able to better predict what may happen in this changing environment into the future.