Seascapes and Science on the Ice

Photographs by Dr. Karen Haberman

September - October - November - December - 2006

Antartic Exhibit 1

Antarctic Exhibit  2

So what makes for a great learning experience?

In the summer of 1991, I began my studies on the most superb of all zooplankton, the Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). These shrimp-like crustaceans are food for
the multitudes of birds, seals, and whales that inhabit the icy Southern Ocean.
But what do the krill eat? That is the focus of my research. You can find the science in the papers I have written, but my actual experience of Antarctica is best viewed in these photos. I took them during the nearly thirty months I spent on the Antarctic Peninsula,
both at Palmer Station and on a Norwegian Research Vessel, the Polar Duke,
over the course of seven years.

Karen Haberman, Ph.D.

Scenes of Antarctica
Exhibit Pictures Copyrighted by
Karen Haberman

Reflections of Antarctica
Reflections of Antarctica

Wonderful sights of the great icebergs
Kelp gulls in tandem flight

Kelp Gulls in Tandem Flight
This photo is my favorite. I love the way
the two birds are perfectly synchronized.


Penguins with Icebergs in Background

Adelie penguin with chicks
Adelie Penguin with Chicks
In years when krill are abundant,
a mated pair of Adelie penguins
will often raise a pair of chicks.


Giant petrel chick (right)

The giant petrel chicks protect themselves from predators (such as this fur seal)
by puking up a very malodorous, sticky substance called “gack”. If you are gacked, you must burn your clothing and bear
the wrath of fellow station dwellers.

Giant Petrel Chick


Critters of Antarctica

Fur Seal
Fur Seal

Weddell Seals
Weddell Seals
Weddell seals are not common along
the Antarctic Peninsula. They are known for their extraordinary diving ability.

Antarctic Krill
Antarctic Krill

(Photographer unknown for photo)

Antartic Krill
The Antarctic krill, food for many species
of Antarctic predators, occur in
large swarms in the Southern Ocean.
The biomass of just this species is more
than that of all the humans on earth.

Leopard Seal
Leopard Seal

Crabeater Seal
Crabeater Seal

Both of these seal species have specially-adapted teeth to strain krill from the water. However, the leopard seal often eats higher on the food chain,
and the crabeater seal could be his next mea

Searching for Krill

Dr. Ray Smith and student lower the BOPS off stern of boat
Dr. Ray Smith and student Lower the BOPS off Stern of Boat 2
Dr. Ray Smith and his student lower the Bio-Optical Monitoring System (BOPS)
off the stern of the Polar Duke.
This system measures salinity, temperature and chlorophyll fluorescence along a vertical profile, and also collects water samples.

Divers Scoop Juvenile Krill
Collecting Krill
Divers use aquarium nets to scoop juvenile krill from beneath the ice.
The young krill feed on ice algae during the austral winter and spring.
We also collected krill dragging a net behind us in the trawl boat.

Mt. William
Mt. William
Mt. William looms large near Palmer Station, Antarctica,
the National Science Foundation station where I spent most of my time on the ice.

Tim and Sharon on Cormorant Island
Tim and Sharon on Cormoran Island

Karen Haberman on the pack ice
Karen Haberman

Tim Newberger and Sharon Stammerjohn are two of my closest friends from Antarctic days.

And yes, that’s me on the right, bundled up in my float coat just in case the ice gives way.

Boys will be girls!


I enjoy being a girl!

"I enjoy being a girl"
Mark and Vance found these dresses in
a box at Palmer Station and had a bit of fun. There are generally many more men than women on station, although gender ratios at Palmer have become steadily more equal over the years.

Sights of the cold Continent

Blue-eyed shag on Cormorant Island
Blue-eyed Shag on Cormorant Island
The blue-eyed shag is actually a type of cormorant, seen here on one
of its breeding colonies.

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale
Humpback whales feed on,
you guessed it, krill!

Single, black-and-white
penguin seeks mate.
Single, black-and-white penguin seeks mate
Must enjoy swimming in cold water.
Ability to find krill schools a plus.

The ice cave
The ice cave

Ice Cave

This ice cave was accessible for only a couple of months out of the year, and was a prime destination on our precious (and few) days off from research.

The Peaceful Antarctic

Pack ice at twilight
Pack ice at twilight

The sky on an austral spring day--a shifting palette of sunset colors.

In the Antarctic summer, the sun never fully disappears. I took this photo early one December morning as we trawled for krill.

Storm light
Storm Light

Storm Petrel
Storm Petrel
The Polar Duke
The Polar Duke
The Polar Duke

I was extremely fortunate to spend time at sea on one of the finest ships ever to sail the Antarctic—the Polar Duke and her highly-skilled crew of Norwegians and Chileans.

Adelaide Island Sunset

Adelaide Island Sunset
This is the farthest south I journeyed, just south of the Antarctic Circle.


This page was last modified April 17, 2008 , A.E.