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Hi, I'm Bill Swanson from El Paso, Texas. I enjoy hiking, cooking, computers and multimedia, but most of all I enjoy learning. I have a passion for learning; for tackling a wide variety of topics and then applying that information in the classroom. I recently became a certified scuba diver. I am eager to begin my Antarctica experience to learn more and to share with my students, colleagues and family. My wife, Nancy, is an elementary school principal. I have two daughters, Jessica, who is 13 and Jenny, age 9. Jenny has an extensive penguin collection and is especially excited about my trip.

I have been teaching for 10 years and graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a bachelors degree in physics and received my masters degree from Lesley College. I have taught science, math and technology courses. I currently work with a group of teachers in the Synergy program. We integrate the core curricular courses with technology in an interdisciplinary format. Synergy is unique because it offers students a setting in which they are academically challenged through curriculum integration, cooperative teamwork, and collaborative problem-solving through real-world applications. Also unique to the Synergy concept is the idea of looping with students throughout their high school years. This idea has reaped many benefits. The students develop close relationships with each other and their teachers, and are cared for academically and personally throughout their high school years.

This wonderful experience will no doubt create unforgettable memories and impact my teaching for years to come.

Long-Term Ecological Research Project, Palmer Station Region
Dr. Raymond Smith, University of California at Santa Barbara

Phytoplankton, the microscopic plants of the ocean, are the basis of the marine food web, all life in the sea, and they play an important role in the global biogeochemical cycles. The ocean covers nearly 75 percent of the earths surface, which is poorly sampled by conventional shipboard techniques, so satellite sensors have been deployed to sample the oceans of the world.

An important satellite sensor is the SeaWiFS (Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor) ocean color sensor. Ocean waters vary from deep marine blue to a turbid green color. Deep marine blue is the color of sea water, which becomes increasingly green as the concentration of phytoplankton suspended in the water increases. This principle, blue for low biomass and increasingly green for higher biomass concentrations, is used by the SeaWiFS ocean color satellite sensor for the estimation from space of oceanic chlorophyll, a measure of phytoplankton biomass.

The overall objectives and the basic principles of this project are relatively simple. The actual implementation of receiving a satellite signal in space, relating it to a water leaving reflectance, and linking that reflectance to the in-water chlorophyll concentration requires attention to a number of important details. For our work at Palmer and the Southern Ocean these details include: determining and understanding the reasons for the unique biological and optical (bio-optical) characteristics of these waters in the Southern Ocean; making detailed observations using in-water optical instruments and water samples for chlorophyll analysis that will permit accurate modeling of the bio-optical properties of these waters; understanding how these observations relate to the actual signal observed by the SeaWiFS satellite in orbit. Each study of the "details" is a project. The final output will be calibrated satellite images of the abundance and distribution of phytoplankton biomass for the Palmer region and the Southern Ocean.

To gather some of the data we will make use of a Micro Tops II Sunphotometer. This instrument is a stand alone 5 channel hand-held sunphotometer for measuring aerosol optical thickness and total water vapor easily, accurately and dependably. Direct solar ultraviolet radiation at 5 discrete wavelengths (440,500,675,870,936 nm) are measured and stored. These data can be directly compared with the BioSpherical Instruments full spectral information. This database will constitute the start of a ground-based aerosol study in the region and a long-term sampling program whose data will be available for surface validation of atmospheric retrievals and correction algorithms for ocean color satellite algorithms.

Visit the Palmer LTER Site!

Adelie Penguin Movie

Gentoo Penguin Movie

Baby Adelie Movie

Krill Movie

Ice Fish Movie

Skua Movie

Ice Cave Movie

December 2000

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