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International Leadership, a Global Community, and Renewed Hope: Protecting the Ross Sea, Antarctica

Last week we made history when countries came together to adopt the world’s largest marine protected area (MPA) in one of our most productive and healthy stretches of ocean: the Ross Sea, Antarctica. This feat cannot be understated. It was the culmination of the dogged efforts of hundreds of scientists, thousands of conservationists, and millions…

World’s Largest Marine Protected Area Declared in Antarctica

By Maria Damanaki, Global Managing Director, Oceans, The Nature Conservancy I am delighted that after many years of negotiations, delegates from 24 countries and the European Union meeting in Hobart, Australia have agreed that the Ross Sea in Antarctica will become the world’s largest marine protected area (MPA). Protecting parts of the ocean owned by…

Ross Sea MPA creation means the last pristine place in the ocean is finally protected

The pursuit to establish a marine protected area in Antarctica brought me to the Ross Sea four times. It brought my wife, and eventually my daughter, whom we named after a penguin. – John Weller

When Ice Melts: Tipping the Scales in the Predator/Prey Arms Race in Antarctica

The Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) Fund aims to protect the last wild places in the ocean while facilitating conservation, research, education, and community development programs in the places we explore. This blog entry spotlights some of the exciting work our grantees are doing with support from the LEX-NG Fund. A man is poised with a…

Antarctic MPA Talks Fail Again: Can the Promise of Protection be Fulfilled?

Well, that was a bust. After negotiations to create marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean failed for the third time in two years last week, it’s difficult to fully express the mood of the government delegates and NGOs who supported the MPAs. Perhaps it is best represented by this photo. Although there were…

Blue Balloons and Binoculars: Rally Kicks Off Latest Push for Antarctic MPAs

Once again, delegates from 24 countries and the EU, plus observers from environmental groups, have descended upon Tasmania to discuss the protection of the Antarctic marine environment, specifically marine protected areas (MPAs). When I last wrote about marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Antarctic, the situation was pretty grim. Nevertheless, the countries proposing the MPAs,…

Tragedy on the Antarctic High Seas

Last week history was almost made. Delegates from two-dozen nations gathered to discuss the fate of the Southern Ocean. Several countries were proposing what would have become the world’s largest marine reserves to protect biodiversity at the bottom of the world. Years of science – in some cases spanning more than 150 years – were built…

Russia Prevents Designation of Large Marine Protected Areas in the Antarctic

Yesterday, plans to create some of the world’s largest marine protected areas (MPAs) in Antarctica came to a screeching halt after Russia blocked progress. Although 24 nations and the EU had come to a special meeting in Germany specifically to consider proposals for MPAs in the Ross Sea and East Antarctica because they failed to…

Two Months Breaking Ice in Antarctica’s Ross Sea (Timelapse in Under Five Minutes)

I’ve been on an icebreaker for almost two months now, traveling through the Ross Sea, Antarctica…  To share the incredible experience of an almost infinite variety of scenes, I’ve compiled a time-lapse montage shot over the last two months, condensed into less than five minutes, with a surprise at the end. Enjoy!

Emperor Penguins: Encounters in the Antarctic Wilderness

She turns her head to get a real good look at me, glinting black eyes peering into mine. She then approaches, each step an awkward shuffle, revealing a white shiny belly against the sheen of her black body, a flash of brilliant pink along her sharp beak. She takes another step, peers closer, seemingly overtaken…

John Kerry Urges Support for Ross Sea Antarctic Ocean Reserve

“When it comes to the Ross Sea and Antarctica we’re not going to wait for a crisis to take action,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a crowd at National Geographic headquarters yesterday evening. Kerry was joined at the podium by Terry Adamson, EVP of National Geographic; Karen Sack of The Pew Charitable Trusts,…

Fighting for the Last Tomato: Surviving a Field Season in Antarctica

By Cassandra Brooks and John Weller Things are getting desperate. The last of the browning lettuce disappeared unannounced weeks ago. The bananas barely made it through the first few meals. Our days of eating fresh mangoes, pineapple, tricolored bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, and avocado (oh the delicious avocado!) are all gone. The last tomato –…

A Gift of an Antarctic Sunset and the Start of a Long, Dark Winter

Last week the sun finally dipped below the icy horizon, announcing the summer’s grand finale. Brilliant orange light streamed through the portholes on the starboard side of the ship. I peeled myself away from my microscope, dashed across the room and peered outside to catch the sun blazing down on the horizon. I raced upstairs,…

Studying Antarctica’s Ross Sea: A Day’s Work in 60 Seconds

Greetings from Terra Nova Bay, in the Ross Sea, Antarctica! I’ve put together this one-minute time lapse to share what it’s like to do science in the ice! Video narrated by Stanford Professor Rob Dunbar aboard the NSF icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer.

Landing on Thin Ice: Arriving in McMurdo Station, Antarctica

The sea ice around McMurdo Station, Antarctica has been especially soft this year with devastating consequences for those who live there. There have been no fresh fruits or vegetables delivered since Christmas. Rumors are flying that the McMurdo store has almost sold out of beer and wine. Shampoo rations might be in everyone’s future. McMurdo…