Skip navigation

GOLF 4-3-9 Antarctica Expedition 2012



Dirty Ice Near Britina Island
77° 58' 57.612" S, 165° 36' 39.24" E

One of the aspects of our project is to determine what the “background” organisms are so we can assess how different the microbial communities are on our traps.  Laurie has been looking at the fungal communities associated with marine sponges- part of the group of animals we find near our trap at the Cape Evan’s wall.  At the beginning of our field season, Hubert was diving around the giant volcano sponges.  You can find a Youtube video of our underwater sponge sampling at

We collected both live and now also some sponges that have been long dead- in fact dead for hundreds of years. They were brought to the bottom of the Ross Ice Shelf as part of anchor ice and slowly ablated through the ice to emerge on the surface.  Today we flew out to an area that these sponges can be found called “the Dirty Ice” It is near Bratina Island, a small island at the tip of the Brown Peninsula. The reason it’s called the dirty is because, well….., it’s covered with dirt.

After we get home we will culture fungi from these sponges to determine what species can be found.  We will also determine genetically which species are there.   Stay tuned for results in a few months!