Ethan found this on the net, and I think it’s awesome, so I’m sharing it on here!
*Since, for some reason, this is my most popular post, I have decided to update it as well as write additional information for those of you interested in the animals of Antarctica!*
Contrary to the extreme conditions in Antarctica, there is an abundance of life on the continent, most of it relying heavily on the Southern Ocean’s high productivity (thus there is higher biodiversity along the coast). Nonetheless, there are very few animals which spend their entire lives on the main land. The largest purely terrestrial animal in Antarctica is the flightless midge (Belgica antarctica), which reaches an impressive 0.5 inches in size. The snow petrel (Pagodroma nivea) is one of only three birds that breed exclusively in Antarctica. The Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is the only penguin that breeds during the winter in Antarctica (because it is too large to cram its breeding cycle into the brief polar summer), while the Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) breeds (in the early summer months) further south than any other penguin.
The Southern Ocean is vitally important in the entire Antarctic food web, the base of which is phytoplankton. Feeding directly on the phytoplankton is krill – generally a broad collective term applying to 85 or so species of small shrimp-like crustaceans (order Eucarida). Of special interest is the Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), which can reach 10,000 – 30,000 individual animals per cubic meter.
The most important animal in Antarctica
Dr. Emslie lent me a wonderful book about Antarctica. It’s an older Reader’s Digest full of information about the continent – the flora and fauna, the extreme climate, and the fascinating history of human exploration of the “last place on Earth.”
I have learned so much from reading this book, and I would like to share some of that on here! There are a ton of interesting facts but I will try to keep it concise. In this first segment, I will discuss Antarctica in its rawest form – its extreme climate – which impacts every other factor on the continent….
This is it! My first official post on my first official blog. I have wanted to keep a blog for some time, and now that I have a strict purpose and incentive, what better time than to start? I hope that not only will I be able to record my adventures and memories, not only for myself, but for my friends, family, and whomever may be interested…but that in the process I will hone my writing skills as well. So if you become a follower of my adventures, hopefully you will be able to perceive the progress of this blog as I myself evolve through the coming months (years?)…
I suppose that as this is the first post, I should provide some background information as to where I am going, and what I will be doing!
I am very, very excited, and very honored to be one of the few thousand people in the world to spend some time on the continent of Antarctica. I never even dreamed of this – being mostly interested in and passionate about the tropics, I never considered that I would ever be visiting this extreme environment. And not only visiting it, but working and living there!