header image

What are we trying to learn about Belgica?

Posted by: | January 3, 2010 | 24 Comments |
Welcome back to school, Coates Stars!

Welcome back to school, Coates Stars!

Welcome back, students!  I hope you had a great holiday and are ready to get back to work.  I’d like to send a special shout out to my friends at Coates Elementary School, in Herndon, Virginia.  They gave me one of their awesome school shirts to wear to Antarctica, and as you can see, it contrasts nicely with the blue and white landscape.

Since you’re getting ready to learn, I thought I’d tell you more about what we’re trying to learn.  Here are our main topics for this year’s research:

  • Does the amount of daylight tell Belgica that it’s time to get ready for winter?  (See Yuta’s last post for more details on this).
  • What does Belgica‘s genome look like? (A genome is the full DNA sequence of a living thing.  We will probably only investigate part of the genome.) 
  • Are Belgica from different islands (or different parts of the same island) genetically different from one another?
  • What bacteria and fungi live in Belgica‘s digestive tract?  Do any of those bacteria and fungi make Belgica sick?  Or do they help Belgica digest its food?
  • Does Belgica spend the winter frozen, or dehydrated

We aren’t going to be able to figure all of this out while we’re here at Palmer Station.  There will be many more months of field and lab work, and we will be getting help from scientists in Ohio, Illinois, the Czech Republic, and Japan!

under: Posts by Juanita Constible
Tags: , , , , , ,


  1. By: Pat Betteley on January 3, 2010 at 8:31 pm      Reply

    Hi Juanita and Yuta,
    Can’t wait to share this blog with my students on Tuesday.
    Thanks for keeping us posted!

  2. By: Juanita Constible on January 4, 2010 at 5:13 am      Reply

    Thanks, Pat. I hope your school year starts well. Say hi to all your students for us!

  3. By: shaun on January 4, 2010 at 9:43 am      Reply

    I like the picture

  4. By: Coco Farquis on January 4, 2010 at 9:44 am      Reply

    This blog is very interesting. I enjoyed reading about the sheathbill.

  5. By: Morgan on January 4, 2010 at 9:49 am      Reply

    I am going to read this more often please keep us posted on what you guys are doing dwon there!

  6. By: London Marshall on January 4, 2010 at 9:52 am      Reply

    thats so cool that u can where a school t-shirt in antarctica!!!!!!!! i hope u have a good time there

  7. By: Morgan on January 4, 2010 at 9:52 am      Reply

    I meant down!!I want to go to Antarctica!!!!☻♥

  8. By: Chelsea on January 4, 2010 at 9:54 am      Reply

    - If the belgica ever got transfered to, lets say, California or Florida , would it be able to handle the heat ?

    – I was just wondering becase I know it can handle being in the extream colds , living in Antarctica and all …

    • By: Jared on January 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm      Reply

      It couldn’t stand the heat because it lives in a cold enviroment. It COULD NOT stand California or Florida temperatures.

      • By: Juanita Constible on January 4, 2010 at 4:23 pm      Reply

        Hi, Chelsea:

        That’s an excellent question. Even though it is cold in Antarctica most of the time, the rocks and moss where Belgica lives can get as warm as 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) on a sunny day! We wanted to know if Belgica could survive those high temperatures, so we tested it out.

        Jared is mostly correct. Belgica only survive up to 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) for a few hours. But that’s probably all they need for where they live.

  9. By: Jana Dean on January 4, 2010 at 9:55 am      Reply

    I loved seeing the pictures you took…. i’ve always wanted to go to Antarctica, It would be so awesome to see all of the facinating animals and sea life

  10. By: Anonymous on January 4, 2010 at 1:43 pm      Reply

    i love your info on sheathbill. When you told us about the bird outside your roof checking you out.

  11. By: Rachel Hundley on January 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm      Reply

    Hi I realy enjoyeed reading your blog. I was wondering how long you were on the boat. I hope you have a very fun time on your journey. Try to learn to sleep in 21 hours of daylight.

    • By: Juanita Constible on January 4, 2010 at 4:27 pm      Reply

      We were on the ship for about 3 days. Thanks for the advice on sleeping. It’s really hard to get enough sleep, both because of the light and because everything is so exciting.

  12. By: christani blanton on January 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm      Reply

    The pictures were cool and I hope that you find out all about Belgica Antarctica. The Belgica Antarcta sounds like its adapted to the cold well.The little bird is so awesome.I cant believe it came so close to you.By the way Im pretty sure that it needs to be in the cold. I hope you have fun, It sounds like it.:)

  13. By: London Marshall on January 5, 2010 at 9:43 am      Reply

    it is sad that the penguins are losing there place to live but on the bright side the Belgica Antarctica is doing well please keep on posting more blogs

  14. By: Ryan Robinson on January 6, 2010 at 9:27 am      Reply

    I hope your having a good time down there,but i was wandering if you ever get cold there?


  1. GigaPan series: A day in the life of the Belgica hunters – Finale | Studying Belgica at the Bottom of the World

Leave a response

Your response: