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Science In Extremes: A New Field Camp In Antarctica

April 12, 2024

Field teams have been living at rustic field camps studying changes in the Antarctic ecosystem for more than 30 years. Now, the field camps are getting an upgrade that will make it easier to conduct critical research.

Cape Shirreff field camp against a backdrop of mountains in Antarctica. Credit: NOAA Fisheries Cape Shirreff field camp on Livingston Island, one of the most breathtaking places in Antarctica. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

Our mission of science and stewardship takes our scientists all over the world, including to the very bottom of it! We have conducted science in Antarctica for more than 30 years. Much of it was in rustic field camps that required near-constant maintenance. Luckily, the facilities at Cape Shirreff recently got an upgrade! In our new podcast episode, we’ll hear about the new Holt-Watters field camp in Cape Shirreff, Antarctica, and how it’s improving the science and lives of the teams who stay there. 

The construction of these new facilities was made possible with the support of our design and construction partners in Colorado. They designed and constructed the buildings that were then shipped to Antarctica and reassembled: 

  • Bespoke Project Solutions
  • Colorado Building Workshop
  • Oz Architecture

NOAA Fisheries scientists employ a mix of advanced technology and traditional data collection techniques to track the populations of krill-eating animals, such as penguins and fur seals. They follow their movements at sea using automated cameras and drones. They work with other NOAA Fisheries researchers who study oceanographic conditions and estimate how much krill live near the islands using underwater gliders. This research provides scientific advice for sustainably managing Antarctic fisheries. 

Listen to the episode to learn more about how scientists in Antarctica are conducting sophisticated science in extreme conditions.