2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
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2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Characterizing protein homeostasis and the regulatory mechanisms controlling molecular chaperone expression in the highly stenothermal notothenioid fish, Trematomus bernacchii

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B-199-M Research Location(s): Sea Ice


Event Number:

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

ASC POC/Implementer:
Jenny Cunningham / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Sean Place
Sonoma State University
Department of Biology
Rohnert Park, California


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Sea Ice


Antarctic fishes are distinguished by physiological adaptations that enable them to thrive in below-freezing waters. Consequently, they have lost some traits that enable survival in more variable environments. This study aims to identify regulatory mechanisms that control expression of the heat-shock response in a key fish species of the Southern Ocean, Trematomus bernacchii (T. bernacchii), and to determine if this mechanism has been permanently lost in this species. Ultimately, the study can infer how these fish might adapt to the effects of climate change in the Southern Ocean.

Field Season Overview

The group will reside on station and make day trips by PistenBully and snowmobile to their sea-ice fishing sites. They will use fish huts and a portable “apple” hut mounted on a sled. They will primarily use a Jiffy drill to create holes in the sea ice, and fish will be collected using a long line and barb-less hooks with synthetic bait. About 30 to 40 live T. bernacchii will be collected and transported live to Crary Laboratory on station, where they will be held in tanks of varying temperatures. Following temperature treatment, various tissue samples will be collected from each fish and cultured in cold rooms or flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen for shipment to the home institution.

Deploying Team Members

  • Sean Place (PI)
  • Anthony Tercero