ZEISS Primo Star HDcam enables study of microorganisms onboard the 62nd Russian Antarctic Expedition (RAE)
In the evening of November 13, 2016 the research vessel Akademik Fyodorov departed from St. Petersburg on a voyage under the 62nd Russian Antarctic Expedition (RAE). The vessel is carrying 97 expedition members and a ZEISS Primo Star HDcam to Antarctica. They are the new winter crews of the Russian Progress, Vostok, and Mirny polar stations, and a part of a seasonal expedition.
The vessel is carrying 97 expedition members to Antarctica. They are the new winter crews of the Progress, Vostok, and Mirny polar stations, and a part of a seasonal expedition. The RAE members study many aspects of the planet’s southern polar region: Antarctica and the Southern Ocean that surrounds it. The 62nd RAE spans from November 2016 to May 2017. Its program includes a wide range of biological research. The scientists are going to study microorganisms in the Antarctic coastal area.
Dr. Phillip Sapozhnikov, PhD (biology), Senior Researcher of the Coastal and Pedon Ecology Lab (P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology), says: “Microbiocenosis of Antarctica and its marine surroundings have been closely studied for the last decades. The studies of biodiversity and adaptive features in the microalgae, bacteria, and fungi produce exciting results. It is a way to discover extensive adaptive abilities of the life forms that can be observed only with a microscope. So far only microbiocenoses of few water bodies and land features such as lakes, hot springs, rocks, and relatively small littoral and sub-littoral areas have been properly studied. Virtually no large-scale investigation of the Antarctic coast microbiocenosis has ever been carried out.
For the first time the 62nd RAE will study the littoral microalgae at all the Russian polar station sites, and all within just one surveying season. The objective is to understand the common principles of species, ecology, and microspace organization of these microscopic creatures dwelling in one of the most challenging and changeable biotopes: the Antarctic littoral. Photosynthetic microorganisms (microfitobentos) live in the Antarctic littoral. They are to be identified with a ZEISS Primo Star HDcam microscope installed on the Akademik Fyodorov research vessel. Besides the samples like diatoms in laced silicon shells, dinoflagellates with laminated plate shells, silikoflagellyats and chrysomonads living in various types of the littoral Antarctic biotopes have to be documented, and preferably in vivo. The microscope’s built-in HD digital camera will be used for this purpose. Such photos greatly facilitate the studies of the harsh land biots, and a way to promote the Antarctic biodivesity investigations. For instance, it will help implement current and future conservational programs. Olga Kalinina, Biology Researcher, Oceanology Institute, RAS, Seasonal Observation Team, RAE 62, will operate the ZEISS Primo Star HDcam microscope on board the Akademik Fyodorov. The first micro photos from the vessel’s lab are expected to be available as she calls Capetown in December 2016 and March 2017. The complete study results will be released after the seasonal expedition is over, in 2017.
About the Akademik Fyodorov:
The research vessel RV Akademik Fyodorov (Russian: Академик Фёдоров) is a Russian scientific diesel-electric research vessel, the flagship of the Russian polar research fleet. It was built in Rauma, Finland for the Soviet Union and completed on September 8, 1987. It started operations on October 24, 1987 in the USSR. The ship was named after a Soviet polar explorer, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences Evgeny Fyodorov, who worked on the first Soviet manned drifting ice station North Pole-1.