21 October, 1997

21 October 97

Dr. Marsh, Doug Pace, and Heather Long made another trip to Cape Evans today. There wasn't enough room in the Spryte for everyone so the rest of us remained at McMurdo.

I have finally reached a point with my tube feet study in which I can go forward. The data from my last experiment was within the statistical parameters I previously discussed and which were necessary in order to have confidence in the data. The next step is to determine the respiration rate and obtain protein measurements on the same tube feet. I will then know the tube foot respiration rate per unit of protein. This will be valuable information because the overall respiration rate of these starfish has been determined previously.

The research team is interested in understanding the metabolism of these animals. Since tube feet are such an important factor in the animal's survival (locomotion and eating) understanding what happens with them in terms of energy use and how this is affected by temperature is very important. Eventually we should be able to understand what portion of the animal's total energy use is devoted to tube feet.

I made time today to take a little trip to Scott Base. This station is less than 2 miles away but cannot be seen from here because it's located on the other side of Observation Hill. It is run by New Zealand and is much smaller than McMurdo Station. It is situated on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf and to me it seemed like another world. They have a very nice store there and I found myself spending far too much money. Because it was so overcast the visibility was very low. I will try to make it a point to return on a better day as long as I stay out of the store.

Another indulgence I allowed myself was to watch the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football even though it was 2:00 PM Tuesday afternoon. Happily, the Bills beat the Colts 9 - 6 although they did kick the winning field goal with just 3 seconds left. Needless to say, for those 31/2 hours I almost forgot I was in Antarctica except for the distinct lack of other noisy Bills fans.

Things to ponder:

Did you know that respiration and breathing are not really the same thing? The terms are often used as if they are.

1. Research this and find out how these two terms are different.

2. Find out more about the subcellular organelles, called mitochondria, and the role they play in how cells produce energy from food.

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