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Sea ice is typically viewed as the domain of physical and natural scientists, the oceanographers, marine biologists, climate modelers, and navigators of the world. It is easy to forget another perspective—that of cultural anthropologists...
During the winter and spring months, tagged fur seals migrate thousands of...
Scientists know the Greenland shark ( Somniosus microcephalus ) moves slowly in...
At the ends of the Earth, life thrives despite extreme conditions. In the...

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Scientists know the Greenland shark ( Somniosus microcephalus ) moves slowly in the Arctic's cold water. They also know that parasites attack the shark's eyes. But much about this animal remains a mystery. Marine biologist Greg...
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) can be found in Antarctic waters...
Standing at twice the height of the Adélie penguins, emperor penguins are...

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The Ross Sea, a 1.9 million square mile (3.6 million square km) stretch of ocean off the coast of Antarctica, has been...
During the winter and spring months, tagged fur seals migrate thousands of miles in open water. Scientists are watching this species closely in order to determine the mystery of its population...
The elegant Antarctic minke whale feeds on krill (tiny crustaceans) during the winter. Groups of minke whales often are found on the edges of pack ice feasting so that they can grow thick layers of...
Hidden beneath Arctic ice is a world few have ever seen. Take the icy plunge with a team of ice-loving scientists.
This pair of sea butterflies ( Limacina helicina ) flutter not far from the ocean's surface in the Arctic. Sea butterflies are a type of sea snail, but instead of dragging themselves around the...
The bowhead whale has a massive, bow-shaped skull to break through thick Arctic ice, and more blubber than any other whale.
The National Ice Center’s work is focused on ensuring safe and efficient navigation, but it also supports scientific research and provides crucial information used by scientists to better monitor and...
Several species of amphipod like this one, Gammarus wilkitzkii , live permanently within Arctic sea ice . These animals are endemic, meaning they only live here. They acclimate to a wide range of...
In Antarctica's Southern Ocean swims a beautiful polychaete (bristly worm) called Tomopteris carpenteri , which is adorned with alternating red and transparent bands. The largest species in its genus...
The Encyclopedia of Life and Atlantic Public Media bring us another installment of the podcast, One Species at a Time . In this podcast, host Ari Daniel Shapiro relates two close calls with polar...
This copepod Calanus hyperboreus (up to 7mm in length) lives in the Arctic , usually within 500 meters of the surface. To survive the cold Arctic winters, Calanus hyperboreus builds up dense fat (...
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) can be found in Antarctic waters during the spring and summer in the Southern hemisphere, where they gorge on their main food source: tiny krill. How do they...
Seasons in the Ross Sea are marked by ice freezing and melting, and these processes mix the seawater and redistribute salt and nutrients. The influx of nutrients cause phytoplankton to bloom, forming...
At a recent staff meeting a Smithsonian colleague mentioned that one of his pastimes this summer has been keeping tabs on the Arctic sea ice. The question that's on many Arctic-watchers' minds is...
A dive tender monitors the line connected to ice divers studying creatures living on the underside of the Arctic Sea ice .
McMurdo Station is the hub of the U.S. Antarctic Program. Since 1955, scientists have been coming to McMurdo primarily in the southern 'summer' months of October to February. Amidst the penguins and...
This shadowy fish, Trematomus bernacchii , is well adapted to the ice-cold water of the Antarctic: its blood comes equipped with natural antifreeze. This is a necessary adaptation because the...
Weddell seals grind their teeth on holes in the ice to keep them open to their comings and goings between ocean and air. Their dives can last over an hour when they are looking for an opening in the...
It takes special equipment and many warm layers of clothing to dive safely beneath Arctic sea ice . Ice divers look for holes in a melt pond in order to enter the frigid waters.
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