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This Sci Media collection contains images connected to Icy Ecosystems.

A catch of krill

A catch of krill in the codend of the midwater trawl.

A large ‘dumbo’ octopus

A large ‘dumbo’ octopus about 60cm long.

A leopard seal

A leopard seal lying in the pack ice digesting its latest meal.

Adelie penguins

Adelie penguins on an ice floe close to the ship

Air Temperature Table

Light intensity (red), moss temperature (blue) and air temperature (green), December 14-24.

An Antarctic icefish

An Antarctic icefish species in its preferred demersal habitat.

Antarctic landscape

In Antarctica air temperatures are usually well below freezing, and strong winds exaggerate the effects of the cold.

Antarctic skua

The South Polar skua is the most southerly bird in the world. Although they live around the coastal edge of Antarctica, they have been seen...

Axial tilt

Earth does not spin absolutely upright, but is tilted on its axis – this is called axial tilt.

B15A iceberg

The length of B15A iceberg was the equivalent of travelling from Auckland to Hamilton.

Calum Ninnes at Scott Base

Research student Calum Ninnes stands beside a sign-post showing how far Scott Base is from various major cities.

Climate monitoring station

Climate monitoring station at Mount Fleming, Antarctica.

Continental drift

Continental drift is the concept that the Earth’s continents have not always been where they are now, that they have moved over the...

Crustal plates

Movement of crustal plates over semi-molten asthenosphere.

Deschampsia antarctica

Deschampsia antarctica is one of the grass species found on Antarctica’s peninsula.

Dr Katja Riedel in the laboratory

Dr Katja Riedel working in the laboratory at the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

Dr Katja Riedel wrapped in layers

Dr Katja Riedel wraps in layers for insulation, this keeps her warm during the extremely low temperatures in Antarctica.

Dr Megan Balks in an ice cave

Dr Megan Balks, soil scientist from the University of Waikato, at the entrance to an ice cave.

Dr Mike Williams conducting an experiment

NIWA research scientist Dr Mike Williams conducting an experiment at the container base laboratory in Antarctica.

Dry Valley

The Antarctic environment is very dry, during the 24-hour days of the Antarctic summer, the surface of the soil can get quite warm and dry....

Eccentricity half

Eccentricity refers to whether the Earth’s orbit is more or less circular – it changes between the two over a period of 100,000 years....

Eccentricity zero

Eccentricity refers to whether the Earth’s orbit is more or less circular – it changes between the two over a period of 100,000...

Floating ice

When water freezes, a rigid open lattice of hydrogen-bonded molecules is formed.

Floating icebergs

Icebergs are thick masses of ice floating in the ocean.

Glacier boulder

Landscape showing glacier erosion in Nunavut, Canada.

Glacier striations

A scientist examines freshly exposed striations on a glacier to determine the direction of ice flow.

Humpback whale

A humpback whale jumping from the water.

Ice - solid water

When the water temperature reaches around 0°C, the molecules stick together and form a solid – ice.

Ice core showing annual rings

This is an ice core showing annual rings. The oldest ice ever retrieved was about 950 thousand years old.

Icy landscape

Antarctica is the coldest, driest, windiest and highest continent on Earth. Anything living there must survive some really extreme...

Inside Antarctica's historic huts

Scientists inside one of Antarctica's historic huts. The wooden huts have survived for over 100 years in Antarctica’s extreme...

Inside Cape Evans Hut

Inside Cape Evans Hut frost can be seen on the walls. Cape Evans is one of Antarctica's historic wooden huts.

Insulation with feathers

Penguins trap air in their feathers to help stay warm. Doing this is a very effective form of insulation.

Landcare Research in Antarctica

Landcare Research scientist explores Antarctica.

Landcare Research scientists

Landcare Research scientists recording data on location in Antarctica.

Lichen field work

Scientist working with Lichens in Antarctica. Lichens – which are actually algal/fungal symbionts – can be active even when it’s...

Lichen on rocks

Lichen covering rocks in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Macaroni penguins

Macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) in Antarctica.

Moss patch

Canada Glacier moss patch – the richest in the Dry Valleys.


These Antarctic worms are called nematodes or round worms.

NIWA scientists in Antarctica

National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) scientists undertake experiments in Antarctica.

Orca whale

An orca nosing through the ice.

Penguin behaviour

Research has been conducted in Antarctica to specifically find out how humans are affecting penguins.

Penguins in Antarctica

Antarctica is the coldest, driest, windiest and highest continent on Earth.

Reflection of solar radiation by clouds

Of the solar radiation entering the atmosphere, 31 percent is reflected back to space by clouds, aerosols, the Earth’s surface and...

Scientist in Antarctica

University of Waikato scientist on location in Antarctica.

Seals are consumers

Seals are consumers, they are unable to make their own food and so must eat other animals.

Simple ecosystem diagram

An ecosystem is a community of living things and their non-living environment.


When snowflakes fall, they are feathery and light. This is a magnified view of a snowflake, note the feathery tips.


Springtails are small insects that live in Antarctica.

Starfish (Diplasterias burcei)

Diplasterias burcei, or star fish, can be found throughout the waters near Antarctica.

Terminal of Miers Glacier

The terminal of a glacier is the end where either the ice melts or, if the glacier flows out over the sea or a lake, chunks of ice break...

The food web in the Ross Sea

How the food web in the Ross Sea works.

The greenhouse effect

This explains what happens to incoming solar radiation.

University of Waikato scientist

University of Waikato scientist working with a seal in Antarctica.

Water molecule

The hydrogen bonds between water molecules are responsible for the special properties of water.

Working among mosses in the Dry Valleys

Many people are surprised to hear that vegetation – mainly mosses and lichens – manages to grow on the Antarctica mainland.