Antarctica -4 R.V.I. Nathanial Palmer

Antarctica -4 R.V.I. Nathanial Palmer

I’m McKensie Daugherty, your host for On the Ocean. Antarctica claims many unique attributes as the southernmost continent on Earth. For this reason, many scientists from many nations are highly interested in studying the frozen continent up close. In order to carry out this research, Research Vessel Ice breakers are used, with many instruments and scientists on board. The American Ice Breaker used by Texas A&M University to study Antarctica is the R.V.I. Nathanial Palmer, often travelling to the U.S. McMurdo Station on the mainland. Scientists on the R.V.I. Nathanial Palmer use many instruments to gather information about the Southern Ocean and the mainland of Antarctica. For example, one cruise involved 7 Principle Investigators and 14 students from 7 different institutions. All these researchers have varying interests, from sediment cores, seismic data, ocean dredges, to currents and water and wind speeds and directions. Other instruments include sensors taking data such as oxygen levels and nutrient levels (including nitrates, phosphates, and silicates). Texas A&M University researchers work with the Southern ocean, gathering data to provide accurate atlases of the mainland and Southern ocean variables. Using a probe on a wench structure, scientists drag the probe behind the ship to get a working picture of the ocean variables over distances in the Antarctic. Another method is to use buoys that can gather data on water and current movements and directions, as well as salinity, temperature, and density of the Antarctic water. This has been On the Ocean, a program made possible by the Department of Oceanography and a production of KAMU-FM on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. For more information and links, please go to and click On the Ocean.

Contributing Professor: Dr. Chrissy Wiederwohl

Dr. Chrissy Wiederwohl Bio


Sampling of the Southern Ocean


R.V.I. Nathanial Palmer in the Southern Ocean