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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

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 one egg and then passes it to...
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) can be found in Antarctic waters...
This pair of sea butterflies ( Limacina helicina ) flutter not far from the...

DIVE DEEPER

Travel to the ends of the earth—literally—and discover the polar ocean basins. Both the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean...
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 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 (...
To people living in warm climates, all ice looks the same. But if you live day-in and day-out on sea ice, like the Inupiaq people of Alaska, you would find that there are many kinds of ice, all...
The Ross Sea, a 1.9 million square mile (3.6 million square km) stretch of ocean off the coast of Antarctica, has been nicknamed “ The Last Ocean .” And it’s not just a ploy to get your attention. In...
The dark seafloor beneath the ice is covered with sea stars, urchins and ribbon worms looking for their next meal, which can come from sponges, dead animals that float to the sea floor, or even other...
Scientists use a multinet to collect Arctic zooplankton samples from different depth layers in the water column .
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...
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...
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...
Ice divers use a quadrat to study the density of creatures living on the underside of Arctic ice floes. A quadrat is a standardized square used to take sample measurements that allow researchers to...
To document fragile organisms found in the Arctic , scientist Kevin Raskoff builds special aquaria on the ship to photograph of live critters that have been captured.
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 Greenland glacier Jakobshavn Isbrae is massive, at around 40 miles long and more than a mile thick. It's famous among glaciers as the source of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic—but it's...
Despite the cold and dark environment, soft-bodied animals like anemones abound under the ice. Using their sticky arms, they grab zooplankton, which can be hard to come by during the long winter with...
Small amphipods, the blue bug-like creatures, can be seen here catching a ride on this enormous sea spider as it makes its way across the bottom. Many Antarctic creatures, like the dinner-plate-sized...
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...
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...
Hidden beneath Arctic ice is a world few have ever seen. Take the icy plunge with a team of ice-loving scientists.
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