I.D. Antarctica 2020

Bay, Western Antarctic Peninsula, with icebergs in the background

Help identify some of the amazing marine organisms that live in Antarctica!

Join Andrew Corso, a PhD candidate at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and identify “mystery” creatures from his Winter 2020 research cruise off the coast of the Western Antarctic Peninsula.

During January-February 2020, this adventure unfolded in real-time via weekly blog posts.  In April 2020, Andrew facilitated a similar virtual program in conjunction with N.J. 4-H at Home.

Now, we’ve compiled these resources here to help students and families explore life in the Southern Ocean, with Andrew as your guide.  You can follow along using the archived blog posts (in reverse order) OR choose your own adventure using the table below.

Especially for K12 Teachers: We’ve created this slide deck, with abbreviated content, to share with your students.  It will allow them to step through each week’s challenges without skipping ahead to the answers.  All of the answers are linked in this separate slide.  You may also want to use this brief Antarctica Worksheet to get oriented.

Challenge Resources
A white bird above the snow of Antarctica Mystery Creature #1 Sea Birds

Download this week’s challenge and see if you can identify this sea bird.

Hyperiid Amphipod Mystery Creature #2 Zooplankton

Download this week’s challenge and see if you can identify this zooplankton.

Fish to identify in Week #3 Mystery Creature #3 Fish

Download this week’s challenge and see if you can identify this larval fish.

Want to know more about this mystery creature?

  • Watch Andrew explain his research on Antarctic fishes in this 45-minute video recording.
  • Explore more about these unusual Antarctic fishes with this Polar Data Story!
Zooplankton predator-prey, Antarctica Mystery Creature #4 Zooplankton Predator-Prey

Download this week’s challenge and see if you can identify this zooplankton predator and prey.

Want to know more about these mystery creatures?

  • Watch Andrew talk about the role of these creatures in the marine food web, and find out more about the Long Term Ecological research (LTER) at Palmer Station in this 37-minute video recording
Bird and Chicks, Antarctica Mystery Creature #5 Penguins

Download this week’s challenge and test your ability to identify different species of penguins.

Want to know more about penguins on the Western Antarctic Peninsula?

About our scientist:

Andrew Corso, a PhD candidate at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, will be leading I.D. Antarctica. While he is primarily researching the impacts of climate change on Antarctic fishes, he has the opportunity to work with scientists studying a variety of Antarctic organisms, ranging from bacteria to whales. Andrew’s greatest passion is photography and his specialized equipment will help illustrate the otherworldly animals of the Southern Ocean.