Poles

The Arctic and Antarctic are found on opposite poles of Earth and, despite similarities, these regions are unique in their biology and history.

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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 whether...
Using an ROV (Remotely-Operated Vehicle) equipped with a high-definition video...
At the Poles, Life Thrives Located beside the Shores and Shallows gallery (...
The National Ice Center’s work is focused on ensuring safe and efficient...

LATEST CATCH

Lying on the ice with a few friends is not an unusual way to spend time for walruses, who tend to be sociable animals. Their groups can range from tens to thousands. Each individual herd has a dominant male who is established by...
Standing at twice the height of the Adélie penguins, emperor penguins are...
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) can be found in Antarctic waters...

DIVE DEEPER

Travel to the ends of the earth—literally—and discover the polar ocean basins. Both the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean...
Small Adélie penguins live throughout the Antarctic, but are most abundant in the area of the Ross Sea. They lay eggs on the few rocky outcrops of land not covered in ice. Scientists have determined...
The threat that climate change poses to polar bears has received a lot of attention, but they are not the only Arctic species at risk. Ice-loving seals, such as harp, hooded and ringed seals, are...
The Encyclopedia of Life brings us another installment of the podcast, One Species at a Time . In this podcast, host Ari Daniel Shapiro relates two close calls with polar bears. Listen as Heather...
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...
The Arctic Tern could really be called the Arctic-Antarctic Tern. It has the longest migration of all birds, flying from breeding grounds near the North Pole to wintering grounds off Antarctica. That...
A dive tender monitors the line connected to ice divers studying creatures living on the underside of the Arctic Sea ice .
Three distinct types of killer whale, or orcas, can be found in the Antarctic, each with a different habitat and diet preference. One type of orca preys almost exclusively on the Antarctic minke...
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.
Bright colors seem to jump off of this comb jelly, or ctenophore. The rainbow effect appears when light emanates from comb jellies' namesake combs, which are rows of cilia that run up and down their...
Scripps scientist Gerald Kooyman's expeditions have documented climate-induced changes to emperor penguin habitat in Antarctica. Learn more about life at the poles or check out this emperor penguin...
Travel to the ends of the earth—literally—and discover the polar ocean basins. Both the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean are defined by ice and dramatic shifts between endless day and endless...
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...
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...
Standing at twice the height of the Adélie penguins, emperor penguins are the largest of the penguin species and can grow to be 100 pounds. This species breeds directly on the ice: a female lays her...
Lying on the ice with a few friends is not an unusual way to spend time for walruses, who tend to be sociable animals. Their groups can range from tens to thousands. Each individual herd has a...
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...
New technology is making it possible for scientists to go where they’ve never gone before, the depths of the icy Arctic Ocean . By collecting organisms and mapping the seafloor, researchers can...
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...
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