5 February 2021

#AntarcticLog: Not the antarctic

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here

In #AntarcticLog, I try to convey what’s going on worldwide in terms of climate research, even if my primary focus is on Antarctica.  In this post I’ll share a few examples. 

The first time the comic really veered away from the great southern continent was before I even visited. In autumn, 2017, busy doing my homework in microbiology to get ready for my Palmer Station trip, I heard that the microbiology community had come together to help one of their own, Brett Baker, of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, had lost his lab to flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Donations from all over would help Baker rebuild. 

As I studied up on phytoplankton, the subject of my team’s research at Palmer, I recalled an earlier trip, in the Arctic, where I had the chance to see diatoms unknown to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute scientist Sam Laney running the Imaging Flow Cytobot as we traveled through the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas. 

Then it was back to subtropical waters, as I did a residency in the Florida Keys and learned about the climate-caused devastation to coral reefs — and the innovative methods used to help restore them. 

In the end, my six inch square of space ends up feeling so very small — scarcely enough to encompass all that is being done, never mind the long list of objectives still to be met in order to stem the impacts of climate change.  Here’s hoping my small glimpses into the research process and the progress of innovations inspires more people to support and get involved with these efforts.   Thank you for reading #AntarcticLog! 

Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram