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Cassandra Brooks is a PhD student with the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University who is studying international ocean policy, particularly focusing on marine protection in the Antarctic.

Forecast: More Vessels Stuck in Antarctic Ice

Just as the Russian vessel Akademik Shokalskiy and the Chinese vessel sent to rescue it were finally dislodged from the ice after being stuck since Christmas Eve, three fishing vessels have followed a United States icebreaker deep into the Ross Sea to access ice-choked fishing grounds that would otherwise be impossible for their vessels to…

Tragedy on the Antarctic High Seas

Last week history was almost made. Delegates from two-dozen nations gathered to discuss the fate of the Southern Ocean. Several countries were proposing what would have become the world’s largest marine reserves to protect biodiversity at the bottom of the world. Years of science – in some cases spanning more than 150 years – were built…

Two Months Breaking Ice in Antarctica’s Ross Sea (Timelapse in Under Five Minutes)

I’ve been on an icebreaker for almost two months now, traveling through the Ross Sea, Antarctica…  To share the incredible experience of an almost infinite variety of scenes, I’ve compiled a time-lapse montage shot over the last two months, condensed into less than five minutes, with a surprise at the end. Enjoy!

Emperor Penguins: Encounters in the Antarctic Wilderness

She turns her head to get a real good look at me, glinting black eyes peering into mine. She then approaches, each step an awkward shuffle, revealing a white shiny belly against the sheen of her black body, a flash of brilliant pink along her sharp beak. She takes another step, peers closer, seemingly overtaken…

Fighting for the Last Tomato: Surviving a Field Season in Antarctica

By Cassandra Brooks and John Weller Things are getting desperate. The last of the browning lettuce disappeared unannounced weeks ago. The bananas barely made it through the first few meals. Our days of eating fresh mangoes, pineapple, tricolored bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, and avocado (oh the delicious avocado!) are all gone. The last tomato –…

A Gift of an Antarctic Sunset and the Start of a Long, Dark Winter

Last week the sun finally dipped below the icy horizon, announcing the summer’s grand finale. Brilliant orange light streamed through the portholes on the starboard side of the ship. I peeled myself away from my microscope, dashed across the room and peered outside to catch the sun blazing down on the horizon. I raced upstairs,…

Studying Antarctica’s Ross Sea: A Day’s Work in 60 Seconds

Greetings from Terra Nova Bay, in the Ross Sea, Antarctica! I’ve put together this one-minute time lapse to share what it’s like to do science in the ice! Video narrated by Stanford Professor Rob Dunbar aboard the NSF icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer.

Landing on Thin Ice: Arriving in McMurdo Station, Antarctica

The sea ice around McMurdo Station, Antarctica has been especially soft this year with devastating consequences for those who live there. There have been no fresh fruits or vegetables delivered since Christmas. Rumors are flying that the McMurdo store has almost sold out of beer and wine. Shampoo rations might be in everyone’s future. McMurdo…

New Expedition Explores Fate of Antarctica’s Ross Sea

In a matter of days I will join a research cruise in perhaps the most remote body of water on the planet, the Ross Sea off Antarctica. In this icy place, life thrives. Penguin colonies stretch as far as the eye can see. Seals, whales, and flying seabirds abound. For more than 150 years, the…