Entries by Andrew Corso

I.D. Antarctica – Home at Last

Land ho! Pictured above is the first bit of South America we saw from the ship. After a remarkably smooth crossing of the Drake Passage, we made it back to Punta Arenas, Chile. It’s not always so smooth, though! This Quicktime video file (Crossing the Drake Passage, 2017) shows you what my crossing looked like […]

I.D. Antarctica #5 – Answer

Hello! I hope you all had a fun time trying to identify these sea birds.  I’m sure you realized these are penguins – were you able to identify the species?       This is an adult Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) standing with its two chicks. They are probably a little over a month old! […]

I.D. Antarctica – Week #5 Mystery Creature

Greetings from Antarctica! Sadly, we are heading back to Chile later this week. Our last stop is at one of the three Antarctic bases operated by the United States called Palmer Station, on the Western Antarctic Peninsula. It is a very cool place filled with wonderful people. The station held a big dinner for us […]

I.D. Antarctica #4 – Answer

Hello! I hope you all had a great week. We had a chance to see some beautiful icebergs. Of all the scenery down here, they are definitely my favorite. Waves carve away the ice to create unbelievable structures.     So, it seems like many of you were able to identify this week’s mystery creatures: […]

I.D. Antarctica – Mystery Creature #4

Greetings from Antarctica! We pulled a special type of net behind our research vessel today called a MOCNESS. It stands for Multiple Opening and Closing Net Environmental Sampling System. It is a very important piece of oceanographic research gear and there are only about 50 of them in the world. We normally send a single […]

I.D. Antarctica #3 – Answer

Hello again!  Did you think it was easy or hard to identify our week #3 mystery creature?  I hope you enjoyed the challenge!  Or did it make you feel like this fish looks? Well, the correct answer for the fish identification is…..drum roll….Pagetopsis macropterus (also pictured above). This species is a member of the family Channichthyidae, […]

I.D. Antarctica – Mystery Creature #3

Hello again! I am especially excited this week because we have caught some larval fishes during a net tow in the bay pictured above. Most adult fishes in the Southern Ocean are benthic, which means they live near the sea floor. However, many of these fishes have pelagic larval stages. So, adults lay their eggs […]

I.D. Antarctica #2 – Answer

Hi everyone!  I hope you had fun trying to identify this week’s mystery creature!  It can really be a challenge to identify an organism from just one photograph – ideally, you’d be able to see the actual creature from many different angles. So…the correct answer is Hyperiidea, or a hyperiid amphipod. Hyperiidea isn’t a species […]

I.D. Antarctica #2

Greetings from Antarctica! I am standing on the back deck of our ship, the Laurence M. Gould, preparing to launch our net system. We are using the net to catch a variety of small marine animals that are collectively called zooplankton. We lower the net into the water behind the boat with a crane. There […]

I.D. Antarctica #1 Answer

Hello again! We made it out of the sea ice and we are currently searching for whales to try and tag. Were you able to identify the mystery creature in I.D. Antarctica #1?  I hope you were all able to understand how to use the dichotomous key.  The correct bird species is Pagodroma nivea, or […]

I.D. Antarctica #1

A beautiful white bird just flew by and I have no idea what species it is. I almost missed it with how well it blends in with its surroundings. Let’s try and identify it with a dichotomous key I created just for this challenge – download by clicking on this link: ID Antarctica Week 1 Key. […]

I.D. Antarctica Begins Soon

Welcome to the first post of our I.D. Antarctica series. Over the next 6 weeks, Andrew Corso, a PhD candidate at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, will post weekly “mysteries” during his research cruise off the coast of Antarctica. This is his first post from the Southern Ocean.   Greetings from Antarctica! We left […]