2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Life under the ice

no photo available
W-220-M Research Location(s): On station / Taylor Valley


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Ms. Valentine Kass

ASC POC/Implementer:
Jenny Cunningham / Michael Lucibella

Principal Investigator(s)

Ms. Ariel Ann Waldman
San Francisco, California

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: On station / Taylor Valley


Life Under The Ice will bring to light the microscopic world of Antarctica. The artist will image extremophile microorganisms endemic to Antarctica through macrophotography and microscope photograpy and video, and present them to the public in a novel way - turning viewers into Antarctic explorers. This interactive web exhibition will seek to elicit the same sense of wonder that scientists feel about how even the smallest, simplest life forms of Antarctica, shaped by their harsh home environments, are also immensely complex.

Field Season Overview

Based at McMurdo Station, the artist will work with science groups studying extremophile organisms on the sea ice and in Taylor Valley. She will photograph sites of sample collection and the surrounding landscape and will image microbial life through macrophotography and microscope photography and video. Additionally, she will either collect or be given small microbial samples to use in her imaging. For her work with the Schmidt (B-041-M) group, the artist will accompany them on day trips from McMurdo Station. For the Taylor Valley work, she will deploy to the Lake Hoare fixed camp to join supporting science teams and will stay for at least three days. Her photography work will be conducted in either the Dry Valleys lab space or in a dark tent. While deployed, and following her return to the United States, she will post photos and videos online to document her work.

Deploying Team Members

  • Ariel Waldman (PI)