Investigations and Research
Dr. Kanatous and his research team are investigating the adaptations of the heart and skeletal muscles of Weddell seals, that prevent them from experiencing the harmful effects of low oxygen levels, during long hunting dives. They are conducting this research at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
We will have the opportunity to share in this work by following Dr. Kanatous's news updates and asking him questions. At the same time we can do our own research and conduct our own investigations. Perform one or more of the research tasks or investigations below. Discuss your ideas, ask questions, and report your findings and results by posting a new entry in the Polar Science Blog.
Teams working in this field will collaborate to solve the following problems:
- Keep the Research Team Warm
Dr. Kanatous and his team will be spending many hours outdoors every day during their research in Antarctica. In order to gather their field samples as efficiently and as safely as possible, it is essential that they be warm, dry, and comfortable at all times. By conducting some carefully controlled experiments on various materials, come up with a class list of materials that might be suitable for Antarctic wear.
- Aerobic Studies in the Antarctic
One of the amazing things about Weddell seals is their ability to stay underwater for up to 40 minutes without any apparent distress. Conduct a simple experiment to observe the effects of aerobic activity on the body's demand for oxygen.
- Design Your Own Investigation
Complete an investigation plan and have it approved by your teacher before proceeding. Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.
- Blubber is a type of fat that acts as an insulator for some animals. Design a demonstration of its insulating properties.
- McMurdo Station has the only large-production saltwater distillation plant in Antarctica. Seawater is distilled to produce drinking water for the research station's inhabitants. Design a demonstration showing how salt water can be changed to fresh water.
- Research McMurdo Station
Dr. Kanatous is conducting his research at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
- Where is it? Mark its location on the outline map. Mark other important features of Antarctica.
- What is McMurdo Station? Who runs it? Who lives there? Who works there?
- Biome Research
Antarctica is an incredibly unique continent. It is both an inhospitable land and home to some of the most extraordinary biodiversity on the planet.
Older students - Research the Antarctic biome.
- What type of ecosystem is it?
- Describe its biotic and abiotic features.
Younger students - Research the Weddell seal's habitat
- Where does the Weddell Seal live?
- Describe its habitat.
- What does the Weddell seal need to stay healthy in its habitat?
- How does the Weddell seal meet its needs?
- Weddell Seal Research
Weddell seals have evolved to live in a frigid aquatic environment.
- How are Weddell seals able to meet their basic needs in their habitat?
- Where do Weddell seals belong in the Antarctic food chain?
- What are the physical adaptations that allow Weddell seals to thrive in the harsh environment of Antarctica?
- Biology Research
Dr. Katanous and his fellow researchers are measuring the characteristics of different types of muscle fibres of Weddell seals in order to learn how animals adapt to their environments.
Research the different groups of muscle fibres in mammals and describe their characteristics and functions.
- Weather Research
Antarctica is said to be the coldest, windiest and driest continent on the planet.
Track and graph daily weather conditions at McMurdo Station during Dr. Kanatous's research expedition.
- Scientific Terms Research
Scientists like Dr. Kanatous use a special scientific vocabulary when performing and describing their investigations.
Create your own Polar Science dictionary.
New Activity! Complete the Investigations and Research Word Search.
After finding all the words from the word bank, look for a hidden message in the center of the puzzle. Once you've solved the puzzle, go to the Messages area and send your answer to Dr. Hawke's Team.
Bonus: identify where you saw each of the puzzle words and tell us what it means/refers to!
New Activity! Complete the Polar Science 2006 Crossword Puzzle.
If you have any questions about the puzzle, go to the Messages area and send your questions to Dr. Hawke's Team.
- Design a Research Project
You be the researcher.
Follow these steps to design your own research project.
- Carbon Dioxide and Our Impulse to Breathe
When we try to hold our breath for a long time the urge to take a deep breath begins very slowly, but as we continue to hold our breath the urge to take a breath gradually gets stronger and stronger.
Comparing the heat transfer abilities of air and water.
- Automatic Weather Station Observations from Mc Murdo Station
- Classroom Antarctica
- Diving Under Antarctic Ice
- Dr. Hawke's Team Blog
- Dr. Kanatous's Team Blog
- McMurdo Station
- The World Fact Book: Antarctica
- Underwater Field Guide to Ross Island & McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
- Weddell Seals - Animal Diversity Web
- Weddell Seals - Antarctica 2000 Net
- Weddell Seals - Australian Antarctic Division
- Weddell Seals - NOAA
- Weddell Seals - Seal Conservation Society
- Week 1 Report from the Ice Team
- Week 1 Report from the Lab Team
- Week 2 Report from the Ice Team
- Week 2 Report from the Lab Team
- Week 3 Report from the Ice Team
- Week 3 Report from the Lab Team
- Week 4 Report from the Ice Team
- Week 4 Report from the Lab Team
- Week 5 Report from the Ice Team
- Week 5 Report from the Lab Team
- Week 6 Report from the Ice Team
- Week 6 Report from the Lab Team
- Week 7 Report from the Ice Team
- Week 7 Report from the Lab Team
- Week 8 Report from the Ice Team
- Week 8 Report from the Lab Team
- Week 9 Report from the Ice Team
- Week 9 Report from the Lab Team
There are 6 teams working in this field.