IPY talks highlight South Pole Station, changing Arctic sea life
The new U.S. South Pole Station opened in January 2008.
Jerry Marty, facilities construction and maintenance manager for the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs, Division of Antarctic Sciences, has spent the past seven years overseeing the building of the U.S. South Pole Station.
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2:56 p.m., Feb. 3, 2009----The latest lectures in the University of Delaware's William S. Carlson International Polar Year Events will take you on a journey to the ends of the Earth, from the new U.S. South Pole Station -- an engineering marvel -- to the Arctic, where scientists are observing changes in marine biological communities as global temperatures warm.

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On Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 5 p.m. in 123 Memorial Hall, Jerry Marty, facilities construction and maintenance manager for the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs, Division of Antarctic Sciences, will present “Building for Science at the South Pole.”

Marty has spent the past seven years as the on-site construction manager for the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, which opened in January 2008. He will talk about what it took to build this “home-away-from-home” for scientists working in the heart of Antarctica.

The new research station sits at the Earth's axis atop a constantly shifting continental ice sheet nearly two miles thick. Among its most novel features, hydraulic jack columns allow the building to be raised in 10-inch increments to keep it out of drifting snow.

Marty will be introduced by Thomas Gaisser, UD's Martin A. Pomerantz Chair of Physics and Astronomy. A veteran Antarctic researcher, Gaisser is leading a team from the University of Delaware's Bartol Research Institute in developing “Ice Top,” the surface array of detectors for the world's largest neutrino telescope, called “Ice Cube,” which is being built deep within the polar ice sheet. The team has shared their experiences with the public in a popular blog series.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will be followed by a catered reception. Seating is limited. Register online at this Web site.

The lecture will be Webcast live at this site and be made available as a podcast after the event at this site.

The lecture also will be simulcast into the University of Delaware's virtual world in Second Life. The lecture will be presented at this location in UD Second Life. Note that you must have an avatar in Second Life to visit using this link.

On Thursday, Feb. 12, at 4 p.m., Jacqueline Grebmeier, research professor and biological oceanographer at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, will present “Implications of Arctic Change: Marine Biology and Beyond.”

The seminar, which is sponsored by the College of Marine and Earth Studies and the Department of Biological Sciences, will be held at UD's Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Cannon Laboratory, Room 202, and broadcast via ITV to the Newark campus in Robinson Hall, Room 206.

Grebmeier will discuss recent international research cruises in the northern Bering and Chukchi seas between Alaska and Russia. These studies add critical information to research in the region and help scientists understand the changes being observed in animal populations there.

“This presentation will discuss past and current data collected in the western Arctic that suggest a potential reorganization of this extremely productive marine ecosystem is underway,” Grebmeier said.

Grebmeier was lead author in a study recently highlighted in the journal Science that provides some of the first direct evidence for biological community responses to warming and oceanographic shifts in the Bering Sea ecosystem.

Grebmeier's other research includes studies of benthic carbon cycling, benthic faunal population structure, and polar ecosystem health. She has published more than 75 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

She also is the U.S. delegate to the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), a member of the U.S. Polar Research Board of the National Academies, and served formerly as a member of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission following appointment by President Bill Clinton. She has contributed to coordinated international and national science planning efforts, including service on the steering committee for U.S. efforts in the ongoing International Polar Year.

The William S. Carlson International Polar Year Events celebrate UD's president from 1946-1950, who also was an Arctic explorer, and UD's significant polar research in the world's fourth International Polar Year. The global scientific and education program began in March 2007 and concludes in March 2009.

Article by Tracey Bryant and Elizabeth Boyle