10 October, 1997
10 October 97
REGIONAL WEATHER SUMMARY: A high pressure ridge dissecting the
Ross Sea is moving westward. This system will bring thickening clouds across the McMurdo area through the day.
SKY: Mostly cloudy becoming cloudy this afternoon.
WINDS: East 12-17 knots with occasional gusts to 30 knots after noon. MAX TEMP: -11/+12F. LOWEST WIND CHILL:-34C/-30F.
TONIGHT SKY: Cloudy with snow and blowing snow developing early. VISIBILITY: Unrestricted reducing 1/2 to 2 miles in snow/blowing snow. WINDS: East 15-20 knots gusts to 30 knots becoming southeast 10 to 15 knots after midnight.
MIN TEMP: -17C/01F. LOWEST WIND-CHILL: -38C/-37F.
SKY: Cloudy with snow becoming mostly cloudy near noon.
VISIBILITY: Unrestricted reducing 1 to 3 miles in snow.
WINDS: Southeast 10 to 15 knots.
MAX TEMP: -10C/+14F. LOWEST WIND-CHILL: -27C/-16F.
SCOTT BASE 24HR TEMPERATURE FORECAST
HIGH TODAY -15C LOW TONIGHT -22C
YESTERDAY'S EXTREME - 09 OCTOBER 1997
MAX TEMP: -12C/+11F
MIN TEMP: -17C/+01F
PEAK WIND: 33 KNOTS
LOWEST WIND CHILL: -45C/-48F
Today is the first real science day. Most of my time thus far has been concerned with getting organized, trained, and oriented. The focus of my research has been shifted since my training sessions at USC this summer. Instead of working with sea urchin development I will be primarily working with starfish physiology.
The overall purpose of this type of research is to learn more about how organisms live in such an extreme environment as Antarctica. In general, people associate cold with sluggish activity. Antarctic starfish seem to function as well in this extreme cold as their temperate cousins do at higher temperatures. Why?
One possibility may be that there simply is a range of temperature in which an organism may operate efficiently. But if things changed in order to allow it to function "normally" we say it is cold adapted. Antarctic starfish have adapted to the extreme cold. Understanding what actually ocurred to accomplish this is a complex problem.
To better understand this condition we will study the respiration rate and muscular activity in tube feet tissue. Starfish are able to move around because of tiny structures on their underside called tube feet. These organs of locomotion are an attractive tissue to study if one is interested in learning how Antarctic starfish function so well in the extreme cold.
Mitochondria are the subcellular organelles associated with aerobic respiration. An enzyme called citrate synthase plays an important role in what mitochondria do. This enzyme is a good indicator of how mitochondria are functioning and so it will also be studied.
Furthermore, it is important to know about the amount of protein contained in these tube feet compared to the amount of DNA. We can then tell if this measurement is different from what temperate region starfish have. Today I did a test run to try to measure the amount of protein in the tube feet of some starfish collected from McMurdo Sound. I found that there was more protein in this tissuse than my experiment was able to measure. Tomorrow I will make some adjustments and try again.
These measurements and others will help us understand how starfish function when it is so darn cold.
Things to ponder:
One way to help understand the nature of this research would be to consider that you are in charge of organizing a race between a team of temperate zone starfish and a team of Antarctic starfish. How could you make it a fair race?
At what temperature would you run the race?
Would you change other things in the interest of fairness? What? Why?
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