17 November, 1998

November 17, 1998

Not much news today. We were treated to a bit of snow around lunch time. Other than that I spent the day in the lab photographing cells and in the darkroom developing film. A productive day. Not much new to report.

But, I do have a couple questions for you:

Please send me your answers.

A. Many of you have dissected a fish. You probably noticed the big air sacs the fish had inside to make it buoyant so it could easily float in the water without spending a lot of energy. Well the fish here don't have this air sac. However they do need to conserve energy in whatever ways they can. What adaptations do you think they might have to make them neutrally buoyant instead of air sacs? Some Antarctic fishermen have said that even the big Dissostichus mawsoni, also known as the Antarctic Cod, which can weigh over 100 pounds in the air, feels like it weighs no more than a postage stamp in the water. How can such a huge fish weigh next to nothing in the water? HINTS: 1. Think about where it could eliminate weight. What could it use instead of bone to build its skeleton? What else could it eliminate that might weigh it down?

2. What happens to melted fat and vegetable oil when you mix it with water? Could this fact be used by these fish to make them more buoyant? How?

B. Speaking of fish, I heard a sad thing at supper today when I was talking with Ginny Figlar, a writer for the local newspaper* here (she took the photo of me that I have sent along today). She said that despite the International Antarctic treaty** (signed by at least 46 nations) which bans commercial fishing in Antarctic waters some fishing boats from Japan and other countries are starting to come into these waters to trawl for the Antarctic Cod. Others may be overfishing the krill population avery important staple in the diet of many marine animals. Others are hunting whales. How can this treaty be enforced? There is no police force here to arrest them. Any ideas? Send me your ideas.

* You can read this paper, The Antarctic Sun at http://adelie.asa.org/antsun/ast3.htm

** You can read the treaty at the following web address http://www.icair.iac.org.nz/treaty/treaty/treaty.html



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Ben Hasse is helping Mr. Atwood melt icicles off his moustache with a cup of hot water. Ben had the honor of being selected as the Boy Scout in Antarctica this year.

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