Thursday, February 3, 2011

Answers to follow-up questions.

Note: I posted more picture albums to the right. I still have a few more pictures to come even though I have been back in the U.S. for a while.

Here are some answers for Mrs. Radner's 4th Grade:

1. Are you still in touch with the people with whom you went to Antarctica?

I am still in touch with the people I worked with. The project does not end once we leave. We still have to do the lab work and statistics and write our reports.

2. You told us you work in the Florida Everglades. What is your job there?

In Florida I study aquatic insects that live in the Everglades. I work with a professor at the Southeast Environmental Research Center at Florida International University as a researcher to study how communities of aquatic insects are influenced by the way people manage the water in south Florida.

3. You said you would like to go back to Antarctica again and you said probably next year you will go. What are some of the projects you still want to do in Antarctica that you didn't have a chance to do on this trip?

Some of that depends on what we find out from this past year's work. I will probably work on a long term project in which we are trying to understand how the invertebrate and microbial communities in the streams and soils in the Dry Valleys are affected by changes in the climate.

4. We saw in the picture that you wore a headset in the helicopter. Was this for anything special?

The helicopters are loud, so we communicate with the pilots using the headsets in the helmets.

5. Was the time change a problem?

Yes, especially once I got home. It took a while to adjust.

6. Were you happy to come back home, or did you want to stay in Antarctica longer?

I miss the mountains, but I was definitely happy to make it back home and see my loved ones, and green plants, and night time.

7. What is the follow-up to the Antarctica projects you did this year?

We still need to complete all of the lab work. Once we have the numbers that describe the soil chemistry and the types of organisms that lived in the soil samples we will test those results against our predictions using statistics. This will tell us if the diversity in the soils in Antarctica is organized the way we thought it was. This is the hard part. Collecting the samples was the easy part.

8. What do people with special diets, like kosher, or vegetarian, or lactose intolerant, eat in Antarctica, or do they just not go to Antarctica in the first place because special food is hard to get?

They usually had a few meal options in the cafeteria at McMurdo to cater to people with special dietary needs. It is also probably not too hard out in the field because researchers choose what they take with them. There are plenty of options for food, so as long as you can eat canned or dehydrated food you can probably put together a good menu for cooking at camp.

Thanks for the great questions!