Samples and Data for Research
U.S. Antarctic Program - Information For Proposers Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
 

Specimens collected in the Antarctic are available to qualified investigators for study. For information, including the policies and procedures for obtaining samples, contact the facilities listed below.

Samples for Research
Ice Cores
Ocean-bottom Sedimentary Cores and Grab Samples; Continental Cores
Rock Samples
Meteorite Samples
Biological Specimens

Data for Research and Data Curation
U.S. Antarctic Data Center
Maps, Aerial Photographs, and Related Information
Bathymetric and Other Oceanographic Data and Cruise Metadata
Antarctic Bibliography
Other Data Archives

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Samples for Research

Ice Cores

Supported by the NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geological Division, the U.S. National Ice Core Laboratory External Non-U.S. government site houses approximately 17,000 meters of ice cores recovered from Greenland and Antarctica that are available for study.

Investigators funded by these agencies may access the facility's resources. Investigators must contact the Scientific Coordinator External Non-U.S. government site at least three weeks before submitting a proposal to the funding agency and must include details of expected usage of the NICL facility in the proposal.

Ocean-bottom Sedimentary Cores and Grab Samples; Continental cores

Shipboard coring supported by the U.S. Antarctic Program over five decades has produced the world's largest collection of Antarctic piston cores. Geological drilling programs have also yielded substantial core for paleoenvironmental research. These cores are housed at the Antarctic Research Facility External Non-U.S. government site , Florida State University.

The facility houses over 20,000 meters of deep-sea core sediment and over 5,000 kg of dredge, trawl, and grab samples. These materials have been acquired from over 90 USAP research vessel cruises. The facility also houses and curates nearly 3,000 meters of rotary cored geological material acquired by NSF supported drilling programs in the Antarctic.

Investigators planning proposals that would result in collection of new sediment cores should contact the curation facility during proposal development. The facility can provide information about core handling protocols and, in special cases, can provide assistance to projects if planned and justified in the proposal. It should be considered the final repository for core material remaining from a project unless other specific arrangements are made.

Rock Samples

The United States Polar Rock Repository External Non-U.S. government site is a national facility at the Byrd Polar Research Center of The Ohio State University. The repository houses rock collections from Antarctica and the Arctic, along with associated materials such as field notes, annotated photos and maps, raw analytic data, paleomagnetic cores, ground rock and mineral residues, thin sections, and microfossil mounts, microslides and residues.

Meteorite Samples

More than half the world's meteorites available to science have been recovered from Antarctica since 1969. Samples of Meteorites From Antarctica External U.S. government site collected under U.S. Antarctic Program sponsorship are managed, described, curated, and made available for research at Johnson Space Center, NASA External U.S. government site, under an interagency agreement between NSF, NASA, and the Smithsonian Institution.

You must adhere to U.S. regulations governing the collection and curation of Antarctic meteorites. These regulations are published on the NSF U.S. Regulations Governing Antarctic Meteorites web page External U.S. government site.

Biological Specimens

With nearly 19 million specimens, the Smithsonian U.S. Antarctic Program Collection External Non-U.S. government site is the basis for taxonomic knowledge of Antarctic marine invertebrates, and includes type and non-type material dating back to the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842.

In 2007, the National Museum of Natural History and the NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP) launched a renewed cooperative agreement to transform the USAP collection and associated data into a modern resource, primarily web-based, easily available to a vast and diverse audience (e.g., general public, policy makers, conservation groups), and making it a useful tool for scholars.

The Smithsonian Department of Invertebrate Zoology External Non-U.S. government site handles the collection and maintains an Antarctic Invertebrates collection database External Non-U.S. government site. NSF-sponsored polar investigators continue to deposit specimens and data.

Researchers should contact the Collection Manager at the Smithsonian for more information about obtaining samples or depositing specimens and data in the collection. They can also contact the Museum Specialist or the Assistant Project Manager for Antarctic material, and anyone interested specifically in type specimens should contact the IZ Collections Data Manager.

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Data for Research and Data Curation

U.S. Antarctic Data Center

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds the U.S. Antarctic Data Center External Non-U.S. government site to describe U.S.-funded Antarctic data for the international Antarctic Master Directory, which contains thousands of data descriptions from over 20 countries. NSF and the U.S. center are leaders in this international activity. The Foundation requires its Antarctic grantees to contribute metadata to the U.S. center as part of the Office of Polar Programs Guidelines and Award Conditions for Scientific Data policy External U.S. government site.

Maps, Aerial Photographs, and Related Information

The U.S. Antarctic Resource Center External U.S. government site (USARC) at the U.S. Geological Survey maintains the Nation's most comprehensive collection of Antarctic maps, charts, satellite images and photographs. The USARC is the United States' contribution to the SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) Library system.

Also included on the web site is the interactive Atlas of Antarctic Research External U.S. government site. The center is managed through an interagency agreement with the National Science Foundation that also supports USGS mapping and geodesy in the Antarctic.

The Antarctic Geospatial Information Center (AGIC) External Non-U.S. government site at the University of Minnesota creates, collects, distributes, and archives geospatial information about Antarctica. Its goals are to serve the needs of researchers, educators, and operations personnel. Proposers are encouraged to contact AGIC External Non-U.S. government site.

AGIC can help proposers find existing information as well as acquire, use, or create new information, such as satellite images, aerial photography, geologic and topographic maps, LIDAR, and various other forms of geospatial information including three-dimensional maps.

Bathymetric and Other Oceanographic Data and Cruise Metadata

The Antarctic Multibeam Synthesis Data Portal External Non-U.S. government site delivers shaded relief maps, bathymetry grids and multibeam bathymetry field data and some other data, such as temperature, salinity, fluorescence and other measurements from the ship’s underway sampling system, meteorological and radiometric data from the Southern Ocean, primarily collected with the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer but also some date from the ARSV Laurence M. Gould.

Antarctic Bibliography

The Antarctic Bibliography External Non-U.S. government site covers all the world's research literature regarding the region back to 1951. It is produced by the American Geological Institute under a grant from the National Science Foundation and is available for searching and full-document retrieval. Proposers are encouraged to use the bibliography to broaden awareness of past research results relevant to their interests. Investigators are encouraged to provide copies of their published papers and to check the bibliography for completeness in their areas of expertise.

Other Data Archives

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Division of Polar Programs