Better view of our experiment

As we continue to extract DNA from our samples in Colorado, we bring you footage from the experimental set-up a year-and-a-half ago. Thanks to Brendan Hodge of UNAVCO for taking this UAS (drone) footage. Pacifica sped it up and provided some voice-over narration in this version: Advertisements

Fieldwork finished

In a flurry of red parkas, we all boarded a military jet and flew to New Zealand. All our team members and samples have left Antarctica. The fieldwork portion of this project is complete. Now the real work (DNA extraction, data analysis, writing articles, etc.) begins! We will continue to update this blog occasionally as … More Fieldwork finished

Travel delays

Travel in Antarctica depends on many factors, including the weather, personnel schedules, and maintenance of aging aircraft. Our team members were all scheduled to have left the continent by now, but none of us has left since Dorota departed in December. We hope our delayed flights will leave in the next three or four days! … More Travel delays

New article published

Our team just published a new paper on the microbial communities we find within cryoconite holes! It appears in the journal¬†Frontiers in Microbiology. You can read it for yourself here. During the first season of this project, one of our team members pointed out that in some Antarctic ponds, the majority of the algae is … More New article published

Penguin pictures

We don’t see many penguins in our research. Those that we do see are usually dead, or even skeletons, because they have become lost and wandered into the Dry Valleys, where they die without an ocean to fish in (left). But now we are out of the Dry Valleys, at McMurdo Station on Ross Island, … More Penguin pictures

Castle Rock

Even though our scientific research is pretty cool, sometimes we need to just hike for fun, too. To celebrate finishing chlorophyll extractions (and Pacifica’s birthday) last week, we hiked (and skied!) across a glacier next to McMurdo to reach Castle Rock, which rises out of the snow and ice. Scrambling up the rock offers great … More Castle Rock


Do you have a neon jacket, or ever use highlighter markers? Do they look almost like they’re producing light? That’s because they actually¬†are! Most colors you see are reflections of light hitting an object, but neon colors are the result of light hitting an object and causing a chemical reaction that shines a different color … More Fluorescence


Why are we covering up our lab windows with aluminum foil? Is it to prevent us from being so distracted by this beautiful view of the suddenly open water that we can’t work? Nope! We need darkness in which to extract chlorophyll from our experimental cryoconite hole samples. Light degrades chlorophyll, and we want to … More Foiled