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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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A Green Light for Antarctic Fieldwork
17 October 2013 2:30 pm
For Jamie Collins, the end of the U.S. government shutdown means a chance to begin tracking breeding penguins. The oceanography graduate student is one of dozens of scientists at the U.S. Palmer Station in Antarctica who were buoyed by this morning’s announcement from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that it is “restor[ing] the planned 2013-14 austral summer U. S. Antarctic Program (USAP) activities to the maximum extent possible.”
“They told us this morning they are re-starting the season,” Collins writes to ScienceInsider. “So everyone is running around setting up their labs. We're all very excited about the re-opening, but we feel like we've been at the end of a very long yo-yo down here.” (See his blog for more impressions.)
Collins is part of an NSF-funded team conducting a long-running ecological experiment to measure the impact of sea ice fluctuations on polar biota. But he has spent the past week cooped up on the U.S. research icebreaker Laurence M. Gould with crates of lab equipment, as well as the personal possessions needed for a 5-month stay at the station on the western Antarctic Peninsula. An NSF decision last week to put all three U.S stations into “caretaker” status prevented any of the scientists from settling into their expected routines. And Collins had been told as recently as Tuesday that he and about 40 other scientists would be returning on the Gould to Punta Arenas in Chile on Friday.
Instead, Collins will soon be visiting penguin colonies on offshore islands, monitoring their return from the open ocean to mate and produce offspring. But another part of his scheduled activities—a 5-week cruise aboard the Gould this winter to collect oceanographic data—is still in limbo. “No one knows what's happening to the cruises that have been scheduled for January 1 and onwards,” he says. “But at least field work season here is on.”