2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Habitat severity and internal ice in Antarctic notothenioid fishes

no photo available


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1644196

Program Manager:
Dr. Jennifer Burns / Dr. Christian Fritsen

ASC POC/Implementer:
Jenny Cunningham / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator

Mr. Paul A Cziko

University of Oregon
Institute of Ecology and Evolution
Eugene, Oregon

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: McMurdo sea ice


Notothenioid fishes live in the world's coldest marine waters surrounding Antarctica and have evolved strategies to avoid freezing. Past studies have shown that most Antarctic notothenioids produce special antifreeze proteins that prevent the growth of ice crystals that enter the body. While these proteins help prevent individuals from being killed by growing ice crystals, it is unclear how these fish avoid the accumulation of these small ice crystals inside their tissues over time. This project will observe how ice-crystal accumulation relates to the harshness of the fish's habitat and its behavior within different habitats of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

Field Season Overview

2017-18 season Five participants will deploy to McMurdo from early October to early December. The primary objectives of this season will be to install the McMurdo Oceanographic Observatory (MOO) by the McMurdo intake jetty, and to deploy underwater dataloggers. The group will also capture adult fish by hand line and winch-deployed traps from deep-water fishing holes near McMurdo Station. The MOO will be equipped with a controllable HD video camera, integrated conductivity temperature depth (CTD), lights, hydrophone, and will be connected to a power/data cable from the jetty pump house threaded down the intake pump well casing. The MOO is intended to provide real-time data feeds to a dedicated server on the McMurdo intranet, which will be made available for display to station personnel and transmitted off-continent. ASC divers and IT personnel will assist with installation and deployment of the instrument and setup of hardware and software components (see Appendix 1). The group will deploy dataloggers under the sea ice at Cape Evans, a northern site such as Cape Bird or Granite Harbor, New Harbor, and near McMurdo Station. These sites will be visited on single day trips and accessed by helicopter and PistenBully. The group will deploy the dataloggers by diving if possible, but if there is no hole or crack to dive through, they will use a Jiffy drill to create a hole in the ice and lower the datalogger down from the surface. The Reed drill will be required to create a hole for deployment of the MOO near the end of the McMurdo Jetty, and then three additional holes over deeper water near McMurdo Station for fishing, diving, and deploying traps. One heated fish hut will be placed over the hole for deployment of the MOO, and then moved to the subsequent Reed-drilled holes. Some experiments will be performed on fish in the hut directly after capture. The group will also use a towable Apple hut to fish from Jiffy-drilled holes in multiple locations, and may also work out of other huts/holes that are typically established by ASC divers. The group will use space in Crary laboratory to prepare and test equipment, and to and process fish tissue samples. They will use a large aquarium tank to test the MOO prior to deployment, and will keep fish in one to two square tanks.

Deploying Team Members

  • Paul Cziko (PI)
  • Art DeVries (Co-PI)
  • Henry Kaiser
  • Henry Kaiser