Monday, March 03, 2008


Antarctic sea life . . .

I'm going to try and blog everyday this week to get caught up. Too much good stuff is happening to make you guys wait for it. Today's blog is on our long closed fish tanks. They closed up because most of the scientists have gone home. We keep some of their projects running over the winter. The rest are just seasonal. A few are working in the Dry Valleys until April.

Our research fish tanks. Notice the giant tubs in the back.

The giant tubs on the left were used to hold a Notothenioid fish that they were using to study organic antifreeze. Those fish have an equilibrium freezing point of about -.7C which is substantially higher than that of sea water. However, these fish produce antifreeze glycoproteins (AFGPs) which allow them to live at temperatures colder than that. Some people believe that the reason that they don't freeze is they drink alcohol, which also freezes at a lower temperature than water. Just kidding.

Notothenioid fish - the drunk ones.

What set of fish tanks would be complete without a touch tank? I guess the scientists pull up some extras for us to look at. When they do, into the touch tank they go. Some look familiar. Some, I have never seen before in my life.

Our very own petting zoo.

Touch it. It won't bite.

Every once in a long while, they bring up something rare. Sometimes it is a giant Mawsoni fish, commonly known as the Antarctic cod that can weigh up to 300 pounds. I guess they used to eat those for Thanksgiving dinner some years. This year they didn't get one in time. However, they did get one later in the season. They also pulled up this octopus.

A fist sized octopus.

OK, that's it for the aquarium.

Our population is at 216 until mid-April. After that, we drop to 127-135. People are taking place in a wheels up bet because they don't think those numbers will stick. For the best, an entrant pulls a name out of a hat of someone who is supposed to winter over. If that person quits for any reason and leaves in April instead of August or October then the person who pulled their name will win the pot. $10 a head, 127 people. It could be lucrative, but I'm not playing. It feels like I'd be cheering for someone to fail.

1 comment:

  1. You know what would be a cruel joke for the touch tank... :P