Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF's Antarctic scientists find plenty of scenery, no silverfish

We have left Croker Passage for our last trawling station on Joinville Island. The verdict of our investigation? Silverfish are very rare here, if not completely gone.

We caught one silverfish in more than 24 hours of continuous sampling.

In 1983, colleagues caught dozens of silverfish in the Croker Passage at the same time of year, and they were using a much smaller net. We even trawled the bottom to see whether we could find silverfish below our normal sampling depths, but no luck.

When we get to Joinville Island, we will be strongly influenced by the cold waters of the Weddell Sea to the east of us (the Weddell Sea is the southernmost portion of the Atlantic Ocean). The Antarctic coastal current curves around the tip of the peninsula, most likely bringing lots of silverfish with it.

Our transit from Palmer station to Croker Passage took us through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. We allowed everyone not on watch to visit the Palmer base for a few hours. I was in the store when who should happen by but my USF colleague and Antarctic veteran, Bill Baker. Pretty small world.

It is a time-honored nautical tradition to recognize the crossing of important global landmarks while you are at sea, and we passed a big one on this cruise: the south polar circle at 66 degrees 30 minutes south latitude.

At this latitude, the sun does not rise above the horizon for part of the winter and doesn't sink below it for part of the summer.

If you haven't previously crossed a polar circle or the Equator, you are considered a pollywog and must be initiated into King Neptune's realm. The initiation can be ugly, and the details can't be revealed lest I feel the wrath of Neptune. Suffice it to say that all of our pollywogs were strong of heart and have been welcomed into Neptune's court.

USF's Antarctic scientists find plenty of scenery, no silverfish 04/28/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 1:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: 'The Defenders' brings out the best in Marvel's unlikeliest heroes


    The ties that bind Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist run deep. But they're just starting to figure all that out in The Defenders.

    Mike Colter, Scott Glenn, Finn Jones, Krysten Ritter and Charlie Cox in The Defenders.
  2. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson can't keep 'The Hitman's Bodyguard' on-target


    The Hitman's Bodyguard is an assault tank on semi-automatic pilot, spraying jokes and bullets with only the ammo consistently hitting its targets. The irresistible teaming of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson might be even funnier if they missed once in a while.

    Samuel L. Jackson, left, and Ryan Reynolds star in "The Hitman's Bodyguard." (Lionsgate)
  3. Hillsborough leaders ask for patience as multiple schools still suffer from broken air conditioners


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins and his facilities chief appealed to parents Wednesday to be patient as the district works through chronic air conditioning problems — and to advocate for more state funding.

    Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins says air conditioning problems at multiple schools are a "major concern" for the district. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |  Times]
  4. Hillsborough will leave Confederate monument up if it can't get private money to move it

    Local Government

    TAMPA — If the money needed to move Tampa's Confederate monument can't be raised privately in 30 days, then the monument will stay where it is, Hillsborough County Commissioners decided Wednesday.

    The Hillsborough County Commission voted last month to move the Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument from the old county courthouse to a private family cemetery. CHRIS URSO   |   Times
  5. Why Noah Spence could be the Bucs' X-factor


    JACKSONVILLE — Noah Spence crouched in a four-point stance, bending low like a sprinter in starting blocks. At the snap, he took one step to his right, startling Jaguars left tackle Josh Wells with his explosiveness. Wells went for the move and Spence countered with an inside swim move, flying past Wells' right …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Noah Spence (57) participates in training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times