A group of University of South Florida scientists will be allowed to leave for Antarctica this week as part of a research trip that had been left in limbo because of the recent government shutdown.
But a second trip scheduled for December has been postponed one year, casting some research in doubt.
USF scientists led by Amelia Shevenell, an assistant professor of geological oceanography, will depart Thursday for U.S.-run research stations in Antarctica They are participating in a three-week field study.
But another group of scientists, including assistant professor of biological oceanography Kendra Daly and post-doctoral fellows Heather Broadbent and Ban Saenz, have been asked to delay their trip until 2014. The group visited Antarctica a year ago and had been hoping to complete their field work during the Antarctic summer, which lasts until about March.
Daly said her group was supposed to go McMurdo Station for about three months along with colleagues from California. The group is studying how ocean temperatures are affecting the melting of Antarctic glaciers.
"We heard today that our project has been canceled for this year and will be rescheduled for next year," Daly said.
Researchers say they are unsure how the delay might affect their research. Both USF trips were put in jeopardy because of the federal government shutdown, which last from Oct. 1-16.
"Everyone in the project is very disappointed, our greatest concern is for the students and post-doctoral fellows who lose the opportunity to complete their research in a timely manner," Daly said.
Faizan Bangash is a reporter for the News International in Lahore, Pakistan, and part of the International Center For Journalist's U.S.-Pakistan Professional Partnership in Journalism program.