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> Roundup at the Penguin Ranch, 30 November, 2005
Dena_Rosenberger
post Nov 30 2005, 10:56 AM
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Hello from the Ice!
For additional photos from Antarctica, look in the Gallery

For those interested in things Antarctic, check out the weekly Antarctic newspaper at http://AntarcticSun.usap.gov

Where’s Rosenberger?
At the Penguin Ranch, Ross Island, Antarctica

I joined G.A.’s (General Assistants, who do just about everything to make this place run) Lewis and Jane at the Pisten Bully parking lot at 8 am this morning. They will be pulling a “Fuel Bowser” out to two places, Fish Hut #6 and the Penguin Ranch, to replenish their supply. The “Bowser” is basically a tank of fuel. I don’t know why it is called a Bowser and neither did they. Jane and Lewis get the Pisten Bully ready and then we are off!
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Hooking up the Bowser is a difficult affair. G.A. Jane helps guide the link up:
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I was joined by a teacher from Atlanta and his PI (lead scientist), who also wanted to see the Emperor field study camp. Their team is flying small airplanes over all of Antarctica to analyze the gases in the atmosphere above the ice.

Fish Hut #6 was unoccupied but kept warm and ice free inside by a furnace. These huts are used by researchers and divers to collect fish that live under the ice. These fish have special "antifreeze" in their blood so that they can live in the frigid waters.
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The fish huts are on top of a hole carved in the ice leading down to the ocean. The brilliant blue color is just from the sun shining through the ice around the hut! Very surreal!
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We arrived at the Penguin Ranch after about an hour of travel across the sea ice. The road sign pointing to the Ranch:
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We were met by Red, the Ranchhand (I am not making this up), who gave us the “Nickel Tour” of the trailers where several people live while working with and studying the penguins. They have a sleeping hut, a small cooking trailer, and two laboratory trailers.

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The penguins were captured at the coast and brought here where they are in an enclosure with two diving holes carved into the ice. These holes are too far away from the coast for them to get to open water, so they must come back up these same holes inside of the enclosure when they are done with a dive. They will be released back to the wild at the end of the season, which is whenever the sea ice begins to break up.

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Let's make a break for it, boys!
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Line 'em up:
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There is also an observation tube which goes down into the sea near the holes so you can observe the birds under water. Unfortunately, the windows were all iced over so we couldn’t see into the water. One person at a time and it is a bit claustrophobic!
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The lead researchers here are a married couple, the Drs. Ponganis from Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, and they have been studying Emperors for many years in Antarctica. They are considered to be among the top experts in penguin physiology and ecology.

It was a blowin’ hard out at the ranch, makin’ it rough on the fingers to take pictures.
The Emperor penguins are about 3 feet tall and can weigh up to 25 kg (~40 lbs). They can swim under the ice for 25 minutes but normally only stay under fishing for 8-12 minutes. Their heartbeat can slow to 3 beats per minute! The scientists hook up various electrodes to the birds as they swim, and you can see the residual glue on some of their backs in the pictures. What an elegant and amazing animal!

Exiting the ice hole?
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(I thought this was supposed to be a graceful animal)

Meanwhile, out at Pony Lake, the rest of my research team did NOT have a day off like I did. Jenn took some photos for me to post. They found a patch of green ice near the rookery where the snow had been blown off. They named it the Green Ice Rink and they tried to take some ice cores here. Apparently, one of the corers broke, so they only got 2.5 ice cores.

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> Yummy algae and bacteria:
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These cores are melting in buckets in the lab right now and the entire lab reeks like rotten eggs in a rancid compost pile. Tomorrow, Jenn and I will start to prepare these melted cores for analysis in the lab while the rest of the team flies in a helicopter back out to the lake with extra corers.

Unlike the elegant Emperors, the comical little Adelie penguins out at Pony Lake are getting curious. A little Adelie wanted to check out what they were doing and hung around looking at them for some time. The skuas are getting very aggressive in their hunting and the team saw several skuas carrying stolen eggs.

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Did you know?
There are three classes of weather and travel restrictions in and around McMurdo Station:
CONDITION 3 is defined as having winds less than 48 knots, wind chill less than -75 F, and visibility greater than one-quarter mile. So far, this is the only condition I have experienced here.
CONDITION 2 is defined by one or more of the following: wind speeds of 48-55 knots, wind chill of -75 to -100 F, or visibility less than one-quarter mile.
CONDITION 1 is defined by one or more of the following: wind speeds greater than 55 knots, wind chill colder than -100 F, or visibility less than 100 feet. In this condition, only “mission critical” travel is permitted.

Current Conditions at McMurdo Station
An approaching “disturbance” may bring bad weather from the South tomorrow night.

Right now:
Wind out of the southeast at 8 knots with gusts up to 28
Partly cloudy
Pressure: 29.030 inHg
Temperature: 21 oF/ -6 oC with wind chill: 16 F/-9 C
Sunset: February 20 at 1:38 am
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Brandi Draheim and Casey Rodieck
post Nov 30 2005, 10:15 PM
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Ms. Rosen.....this looks like so much fun!!! All of the penguins are really cute.....it looks like you are workin really hard as well........WE MISS YOU VERY MUCH!!!!

Much love!!!
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Cheri Gabler
post Dec 1 2005, 02:38 AM
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Hi Dena,
Sounds like a wonderful adventure so far... and 32 degrees F - quite a balmy day!
I enjoy reading your journal and can almost picture what its like.
- Cheri
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Dena_Rosenberger
post Dec 1 2005, 10:08 AM
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Hi Brandi and Casey!
Thanks for the kind words and thanks for checking in on me. I am having a great time and this is an amazing place! I hope you are doing well in Chem. See you next year!

Ms. R


QUOTE(Brandi Draheim and Casey Rodieck @ Nov 30 2005, 10:15 PM)
Ms. Rosen.....this looks like so much fun!!! All of the penguins are really cute.....it looks like you are workin really hard as well........WE MISS YOU VERY MUCH!!!!

Much love!!!
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Dena_Rosenberger
post Dec 1 2005, 10:11 AM
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Hello Cheri:
I am having the wonderful adventure of a lifetime! It sounds weird to me, but I almost feel like I am starting to not mind the cold after two weeks of it being a constant. Thanks for looking in on me.

Take care,
Dena


QUOTE(Cheri Gabler @ Dec 1 2005, 02:38 AM)
Hi Dena,
Sounds like a wonderful adventure so far... and 32 degrees F - quite a balmy day!
I enjoy reading your journal and can almost picture what its like.
- Cheri
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~*Megan Blakey*~
post Dec 4 2005, 02:00 AM
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laugh.gif THOSE PENGUINS WERE SO DARN CUTE!!!!!
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Guest
post Dec 6 2005, 02:24 AM
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Hey Ms. Rosenburger!!! I just wanted to tell you how much those bright blue diving/fish collecting holes excite me! I wish I could see that up close in real life!! So do people actually go down those things into the dark, freezing ocean? Do the penguins go down those holes when they are captured? How far down is the ocean from the top of the hole? PENGUINS ROCK!
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Jessica Darlington
post Dec 6 2005, 02:25 AM
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Hey Ms. Rosenburger!!! I just wanted to tell you how much those bright blue diving/fish collecting holes excite me! I wish I could see that up close in real life!! So do people actually go down those things into the dark, freezing ocean? Do the penguins go down those holes when they are captured? How far down is the ocean from the top of the hole? PENGUINS ROCK!
Jessica
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Dena_Rosenberger
post Dec 6 2005, 05:00 AM
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Hey Jessica! Aren't the tubes beautiful! It is a bit odd to stand near the edge. Yes, divers go down them all of the time. They say is is dark for a few minutes but then your eyes adjust and you can see. The penguins go down them also, but they aren't cold.

As the summer progresses, the ice gets thinner and thinner. In the winter it can be 20 feet thick if the ice has been around for more than a year. In the summer, it gets very thin then melts completely (hopefully).

See you soon,
Ms. R



QUOTE(Jessica Darlington @ Dec 6 2005, 02:25 AM)
Hey Ms. Rosenburger!!!  I just wanted to tell you how much those bright blue diving/fish collecting holes excite me!  I wish I could see that up close in real life!!  So do people actually go down those things into the dark, freezing ocean? Do the penguins go down those holes when they are captured?  How far down is the ocean from the top of the hole?  PENGUINS ROCK!
Jessica
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Guest
post Dec 6 2005, 05:27 PM
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QUOTE(~*Megan Blakey*~ @ Dec 4 2005, 02:00 AM)
laugh.gif THOSE PENGUINS WERE SO DARN CUTE!!!!!
*



Ahhhh Megan....sometimes not so cute..

I worked as a research assistant once where we used Magellanic and humboldt penguins IPB Image
to study they're swimming dynamics and determining swimming metabolism etc....

And while they look cute enough we discovered that they have a "Poop" squirt range of nearly 6 feet...and several feet height when they bend over and go...

How did we discover this....while doing our study..which involved working on a small boat. and capturing the gasses from the swimming bird..

After each run we'd let the cute but pesky creature run about the boat ( the birds were on loan from Sea World and we had a small holding area for them in the bow of the boat)....they kept "marking" our O2 analysis equipment and computers.....

At first we thought we were being victimized by errant sea gulls but never saw one. Then one morning we saw what was happening......they first adopt a peculiar stance..tilt their head to one side and let'er rip....unfortunately..my face was in the path......Ahh what we endure for science....of course being the wise researchers that we were we would just move the equipment back..then back again..

The emperor's can be very pushy when nesting as well..they peck very hard...


TMI..... I know.... blink.gif
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Guest
post Dec 6 2005, 11:43 PM
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Hi Ms. Rosenberger,
Oh the penguins are so cute. Well I am sure we are all taking back our words about it being 80 derees and beautiful, well now it is freezing it got to be 32 degrees here last night thats like swimming weather to you guys huh. Those pics are cute, have you seen Madagascar? Cute and Cuddly boys cute and cuddly.
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Guest
post Dec 6 2005, 11:44 PM
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Hi Ms. Rosenberger,
Oh the penguins are so cute. Well I am sure we are all taking back our words about it being 80 derees and beautiful, well now it is freezing it got to be 32 degrees here last night thats like swimming weather to you guys huh. Those pics are cute, have you seen Madagascar? Cute and Cuddly boys cute and cuddly.
Amanda Stahl period3
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Guest
post Dec 7 2005, 01:04 AM
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omg ms cheese burger! thats way way way tmi!!!!!!!!!i still think they are cute
QUOTE(Guest @ Dec 6 2005, 05:27 PM)
Ahhhh Megan....sometimes not so cute..

I worked as a research assistant once where we used Magellanic and humboldt penguins IPB Image
to study they're swimming dynamics and determining swimming metabolism etc....

And while they look cute enough we discovered that they have a "Poop" squirt range of nearly 6 feet...and several feet height when they bend over and go...

How did we discover this....while doing our study..which involved working on a small boat. and capturing the gasses from the swimming bird..

After each run we'd let the cute but pesky creature run about the boat ( the birds were on loan from Sea World and we had a small holding area for them in the bow of the boat)....they kept "marking" our O2 analysis equipment and computers.....

At first we thought we were being victimized by errant sea gulls but never saw one. Then one morning we saw what was happening......they first adopt a peculiar stance..tilt their head to one side and let'er rip....unfortunately..my face was in the path......Ahh what we endure for science....of course being the wise researchers that we were we would just move the equipment back..then back again..

The emperor's can be very pushy when nesting as well..they peck very hard...
TMI..... I know.... blink.gif
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Dena_Rosenberger
post Dec 7 2005, 03:54 AM
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Hey Megan! That wasn't ME that responded...but I think I know who it was!

Ms. R



QUOTE(Guest @ Dec 7 2005, 01:04 AM)
omg ms cheese burger! thats way way way tmi!!!!!!!!!i still think they are cute
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Guest
post Dec 7 2005, 10:33 PM
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QUOTE(Dena_Rosenberger @ Dec 7 2005, 03:54 AM)
Hey Megan!  That wasn't ME that responded...but I think I know who it was!

Ms. R
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Sorry Megan...It wasnt Ms"Cheeze Berger" laugh.gif

Yep Ms R..it was me...
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Lindsay Ferguson
post Dec 7 2005, 11:45 PM
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i personally liked the part about how "the entire lab reeks like rotten eggs in a rancid compost pile". why does it smell so bad?
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chuck
post Dec 8 2005, 04:39 PM
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I have to do this cause Mr. Graham is a DORK! tongue.gif
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Chuck
post Dec 8 2005, 05:34 PM
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Mr. Graham is making me do this he sucks tongue.gif
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Dena_Rosenberger
post Dec 8 2005, 10:13 PM
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Hey Lindsay:

It smells so bad because the bacteria are really working hard down there eating up all of the nutrients and producing some lovely gas decomposition products.

Enjoy!
Ms. R


QUOTE(Lindsay Ferguson @ Dec 7 2005, 11:45 PM)
i personally liked the part about how "the entire lab reeks like rotten eggs in a rancid compost pile".  why does it smell so bad?
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Dena_Rosenberger
post Dec 8 2005, 10:14 PM
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Would you rather have physics homework?

QUOTE(chuck @ Dec 8 2005, 04:39 PM)
I have to do this cause Mr. Graham is a DORK! tongue.gif
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