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

Seven Worlds - Antarctica

no photo available


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Ms. Valentine Kass

ASC POC/Implementer:
Jenny Cunningham / Elaine Hood

Principal Investigator

Mr. Michael Becker

British Broadcasting Corporation
BBC Worldwide Americas
Bristol, Other


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: McMurdo Sea Ice


Seven Worlds is a television series and multimedia project from BBC America and the BBC Natural History Unit, due to broadcast during the 2019-20 season. This series follows on from the successful Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, and Planet Earth II series that have impacted how both U.S. and global audiences value nature and science. Seven Worlds seeks to engage, inform, and inspire audiences with iconic landscapes, spectacular wildlife, and cutting-edge science. The series will look at the natural history unique to each of the seven continents and explore how their geographic position and geologic history have influenced the wildlife living there. A key episode will be on Antarctica and will provide an opportunity to see how Earth system processes and ecosystem dynamics have shaped the extraordinary physical and behavioral adaptations of those that manage to survive the extreme cold. It is also a chance to showcase scientific discoveries about the world's toughest environment. The intent is to create a platform that not only helps the public understand Antarctic science, but to feel immersed and connected to a place that is distant and remote. Often what is "out of sight is out of mind," but by transporting the public to a place few will ever visit, this film and associated online ecosystem will make concepts such as Antarctic biodiversity, behavioral ecology, biogeography, geomorphology, glaciology, and humanity's role in shaping the future more tangible to the show’s audience.

Field Season Overview

Four participants will deploy to McMurdo Station from mid-October to late-November in 2017. Based at McMurdo, they will focus on filming life under the sea ice at dive sites including sea ice near Arrival Heights, Cape Evans Wall, and other sites that may be identified by the group and ASC Dive Services. They may collect some invertebrates and small fish and bring them back to the Crary Aquarium for filming. Collected organisms will be released at the capture site or disposed of in the McMurdo waste stream. The group will also film the Weddell Seal colonies at Big Razorback Island, Little Razorback Island, Turtle Rock, and potentially Hutton Cliffs, and will dive at these sites where possible to film seals under the ice. Dr. Jay Rotella (OPP-1640481; B-009-M) will be working on the sea ice in the 2017-18 season and has provided a letter of support to collaborate with the group. The group will visit field sites with Rotella's group, and possibly other science groups to be identified, and will film and interview them about their research and Antarctic marine life. Some ‘behind-the-scenes’ filming at McMurdo Station may also take place, but this will be a small component of the work.

Deploying Team Members

  • Michael Becker (PI)
  • John Brown
  • Hugh Miller
  • Espen Rekdal