Ross Island, McMurdo Station, Antarctica
     I made my first trip here in January of 1994. It was only for 4 weeks, but those 4 weeks changed my life. I was completely amazed at how many marine invertebrates lived here under the frozen sea. I had to know how they managed to survive here, and why more species couldn't. After working in Antarctica for nearly 15 years, despite all that I have learned about these animals under the sea ice in McMurdo Sound, there are still so many things we have yet to discover in order to understand how and why these animals are here.


Sea Urchins:

Although Antarctica looks like a frozen waste-land, it is teaming with marine life that lives in the freezing water under the solid sea ice.



We are primarily studying the sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri to figure out how its babies (embryos and larvae) can survive and grow in a an extreme polar habitat.


Sea Urchin Babies:
These are the main stages a sea urchin embryo goes through before it becomes a larva. We are investigating the genetic and biochemical adaptations in S. neumayeri embryos that allow them to survive in Antarctica. This area of research is called "Environmental Genomics" and involves answering questions about the specific molecular mechanisms that determine how animals adapt to a specific environment and how species evolve over long periods of time.


LINKS:
Dr. Adam G. Marsh, faculty page at Univ. Delaware
Marsh Lab Home, server at our lab in Lewes, DE
College of Marine Studies, Univ. of Delaware
Adam's Past McMurdo Pages, from work at Univ. Southern Cal.
Underwater Photos, archived at the U.S. Antarctica Data Coordination Center