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Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
Date:8/15/2007

(San Antonio)Its been more than 100 years since anyone has journeyed to this section of Antarcticas Amundsen Sea, but that is about to change. Next month five UTSA researchers and a Boerne High School science teacher will join a crew of 22 researchers from several countries to set sail on a two month expedition.

The trip, funded by a $533,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) research grant to UTSA, is designed to study the relationship of sea ice and the Antarctic environment. UTSAs research team will depart Sept. 1 from Punta Arenas, Chile.

The expedition, sponsored by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS), is one of 20 annual trips planned involving a teacher accompanying a research expedition. ARCUS coordinates NSFs PolarTREC educational program, designed to bring educators and researchers together to explore, collaborate and experience life in the Polar Regions.

We hope that once these teachers get this hands-on experience they will be better equipped to teach science in the classroom and convey their sense of excitement to their students, especially after going through this amazing experience, said Janet Warburton, PolarTREC program manager.

Leading UTSAs efforts is world-renowned sea ice expert Stephen Ackley, research associate professor of earth and environmental science, who has made more than a dozen trips to the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Ackleys outstanding contributions to sea ice research were recognized in 2004 when the Antarctic geographic feature, Ackley Point, was named after him by the U.S. Board of Geographical Names.

We are going to investigate the processes of how sea ice forms, moves, decays and interacts with the environment, said Ackley. Its highly exploratory and since the ice is so tightly packed this time of year, no one has attempted to travel this deep into the Amundsen Sea during winter since 1899 when the Belgica was trapped there.
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Contact: Kris Edward Rodriguez
kris.rodriguez@utsa.edu
210-458-5116
University of Texas at San Antonio
Source:Eurekalert

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