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Current Time and Temperature at Palmer Station
Current time and temperature at Palmer Station

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Headline: The Project

The Project Hypothesis

Glossary words on this page (glossary words are shown in red):

accumulate: gather together; increase gradually

hypothesis: a possible explanation to be tested

phytoplankton: small plants floating in the upper layer of the ocean

SIMCO: sea ice microbial community

techniques: methods

Not much is known about the processes that influence the entry of POPs into Antarctic food webs. Based on their knowledge and experience, the scientists have developed this hypothesis and research plans:

The scientists suggest that

  • The physical chemistry of POPs plus the seasonal change in the sea ice causes the entry of POPs into the food web of the Antarctic coastal waters.

The scientists suggest that this happens because

  • POPs are transported by air from the places where they are produced and used. The POPs land on the sea ice, where they accumulate during the winter.

  • When the sea ice melts, POPs are released into the water. They enter the SIMCO (Sea Ice Microbial Community) and the food web during the time when phytoplankton "bloom."

To test these hypotheses, the scientific team will

  • Take samples of air, ice, water, and plankton from the Antarctic coastal region during different seasons of the year.

  • Analyze the samples with a variety of chemical techniques.

  • Measure the amounts of POPs in these samples.

  • Compare the measurements taken during different seasons.

Previous page: The Ecosystem and
Food Web of the Antarctic Peninsula