What Lives in Antarctica?

Instructional Module #6



  PROJECT EXPLORE INSTRUCTIONAL MODULE #6

  FOCUS QUESTION:
  WHAT LIVES IN ANTARCTICA AND HOW DO THEY SURVIVE?
............................................................................
  Val Olness
  University of Minnesota
  Minneapolis, Minnesota

  BACKGROUND INFORMATION

  INHABITANTS

There are no permanent inhabitants in Antarctica.  What little exposed rock
there is supports only sparse vegetation (mostly algae, lichens, and
mosses), microbial life (bacteria and fungi), and a few hardy insects.
While a great variety of insects, birds, and land mammals live in the high
Arctic year round, only a handful of tiny invertebrates -- not a single land
vertebrate -- can survive the Antarctic winter.

There is an abundance of life in Antarctic waters -- waters generally
considered to be those south of 60 degrees S.  latitude.  Seabirds, seals,
penguins, and whales are perhaps the best known life forms -- consuming
enormous quantities of fish, squid, and krill.

Why are there no permanent inhabitants of Antarctica?  Antarctica is the
highest and coldest continent -- its average height is three times that of
other continents (4,900 meters above sea level) and it is by far the coldest
continent with minimum temperatures considerably lower than the Arctic.  In
the vicinity of the South Pole, the average annual temperature is minus 49
degrees Celsius, and the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was
recorded at the Soviet outpost Vostok Station, which has the dubious
distinction of being known as the "coldest place on Earth".  On 21 July 1983
a record low temperature of -89.6 degrees C.  (-125.8 degrees F.) was
recorded and this did not take into account "wind chill!" The fierce winds
characteristic of the area push the harsh temperatures down even further.
Moreover, for nearly six months per year, the sun does not rise above the
horizon, making an already inhospitable environment even more cheerless.

How does anything survive in this hostile environment for even part of the
year?  By developing, over time, special adaptations that have enabled them
to become better suited to this environment.

  WHAT LIVES IN ANTARCTICA?

The Antarctic Sea is rich with life, unlike the land, and the life forms
that survive do so because they get their food from the sea.


  KRILL

-Very important form of plankton or sea life.

-Small, red, shrimp-like creature.

-Provides food source for most of the other life forms.

  Other Plankton:

-A profusion of other algae and plankton survive under the ice forming,
along with krill, the basis for the Antarctic ecosystem.

-At the sea bottom live many marine animals and plants:  giant sponges, sea
urchins, sea spiders, starfish, corals, sea anemones, jellyfish, and
shellfish


  FISH

-Approximately 100 species of fish live in the Southern Ocean south of the
Antarctic Convergence (where the colder water meets the warmer water).


  SEALS

Six seal species live in the Antarctic waters and are (along with whales)
the most significant food consumers.  Five of these species are true, or
earless seals, without external pinnae.  These are Weddell, Leopard,
Crabeater, Ross, and the Elephant Seal.  The sixth species is the Southern
Fur Seal, which belongs to the sea lion family -- the group of seals with
external ears.

The Weddell, Leopard, Crabeater and Ross seals occupy the pack ice regions
around the Antarctic continent and none of these species have been
exploited to any degree for either their skins or animal products.


  WEDDELL SEAL

-Occupies the last-ice environments close to the Antarctic continent, close
to the scientific bases.

-Reaches nine feet in length and can weigh as much as 900 pounds.

-Lives in colonies, buried under the ice for much of the winter, coming to
the surface only to rest and for air, through holes it has carved with its
canine and incisor teeth.

-Feeds mostly on cod and silverfish which are deep water fish, thus they
have developed the ability to dive to great depths.

-No predator except man (occasionally killing to feed sled dogs).


  CRABEATER SEAL

-Not as big and form family groups.

-Spend their entire life in the pack ice region and almost never haul out
on shore.

-Most abundant of the seals, feeding on krill almost exclusively.

-Because whales are declining there is more krill and thus the crabeater is
on the increase.

-Two main predators in the evolution of the crabeater -- the Killer Whale
and the Leopard Seal.

-The Killer Whale actively seeks Crabeaters of all ages, while the Leopard
Seal preys primarily upon newly weaned pups or animals in their first year
of life; this predator pressure is thought to play a major evolutionary
role in the Crabeater Seal's life history patterns, particularly during the
mating and pupping seasons.


  LEOPARD SEAL

-Largest of the Antarctic seals.

-Predatory activities have made it infamous; they regularly kill
warm-blooded animals, as well as feeding on fish and krill.

-Hang around penguin colonies where, in late summer, they prey heavily on
young penguins as they go to sea for the first time.

-They often lie along the shoreline waiting for these young, naive penguins
to enter the water.


  ROSS SEAL

-Least known of all the Antarctic seals.

-Feed on fish and krill.


  WHALES

-Are mammals -- they breathe air, maintain a constant body temperature, and
have hair at some stage of development.

-Swim thousands of miles from other oceans to visit the Antarctic seas,
where they fatten themselves on krill and fish; for example, a blue whale
can eat three tons of krill every day.

-There are two types of whales:  Baleen whales and toothed whales.

-Baleen whales live on krill which they "filter" through baleen plates in
their mouths.

-The toothed whales have small peg-like teeth and eat mainly fish

-The killer whale eats small penguins which it likes to tip off ice floes.


  PENGUINS

The penguin family is widely distributed in the cooler waters of the
southern oceans.  The largest concentrations and greatest numbers of
species occur in the cold temperate, subpolar and polar waters.

Almost every Antarctic and sub-Antarctic island has more than one resident
species.  However, penguins are never found in the Arctic; they have never
migrated out of the Southern Hemisphere, and the northernmost penguins live
close to the Equator at the Galapagos Islands.

There are seventeen different species of Penguins, four of these -- the
Emperor, Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo -- breed on the Antarctic mainland.
Most of the others live on rocky islands in the Antarctic Ocean.

There have been penguins on earth for about 50 million years.  It is
possible that long ago they could fly, but we don't know for sure.

-Six species of penguins live in Antarctica feeding in the rich coastal
waters -- these are the Emperor, the King, the Adelie, the Gentoo, the
Chinstrap, and the Macaroni penguins.

-They have no predators on land and are, therefore, friendly towards
humans.

-In the Antarctic waters however, the Leopard Seal and the Killer Whale
prey on the small breeds of penguins and the young, naive penguins out for
their first swims.

-A penguin is a bird, but it doesn't fly -- it has flippers instead of
wings for obtaining its food.


  EMPEROR PENGUIN

-Largest of the living penguins at around 110cm (4 feet) and 31-36kg (70-80
lb.).

-They are very strong, capable of breaking a man's arm with a single blow
from their flipper.

-In March, the beginning of the Antarctic fall, the Emperor Penguins come
in from the sea, shortly after the sea ice has formed.

-They waddle over the ice to last year's breeding ground -- the rookery --
where they mate.

-The female lays her single egg (weighing about one pound) in May or June
(the middle of the bitter Antarctic winter).

-She does not build a nest, but lays the egg on her feet as she stands on
the ice.

-Then she passes the egg to the male, not allowing it to crack or freeze
and so kill the embryo.

-The female then leaves the rookery, walking back across the ice to the
sea, so she can get food and winter at sea.

-The egg is then incubated by the male on his feet tucked under a flap of
skin for the next two months.

-The male Emperor penguin is the only warm-blooded animal to spend the
bitter winter on the Antarctic continent.

-They huddle together throughout the coldest months, in temperatures that
fall below -40 degrees C., through blizzards and hundred-mile-an-hour
winds.

-They stand, shoulders touching, sharing their body heat, changing
positions in the group from time to time, so that no one penguin stays out
at the colder, exposed edge of the group for too long.

-When the eggs are about to hatch, the mother returns and the father
carefully passes the egg back to the mother penguin.

-Now it is the father's turn to walk to the sea for food; he has not eaten
for about three months and has been living off reserve fat, losing about
40% of his body weight.

-When the chick hatches out of the egg, it sits where it is, on its
mother's feet; she feeds it regurgitated food that she brings up from her
stomach.

-When the male penguin returns the mother and father penguin take turns
feeding the chick, which quickly grows larger and stronger.

-Very quickly all the chicks are grouped together where they are guarded by
other adult penguins so that the mothers and fathers can go looking for
food.

-In about five months, the young penguins grow adult feathers then all the
penguins leave the rookery and walk to the sea.

-It is time for the young penguins to practice swimming, diving and
catching fish.

-It is at this time that the leopard seals are lying in wait in the water;
only one out of four chicks lives to become an adult.

-The swimming penguins climb on ice floes and drift up to more northern
waters where they swim and fish and fatten up.

-In March they will swim back to Antarctica, walk to the rookery, and the
whole cycle begins again.


  KING PENGUIN

-Are similar to the Emperors but smaller.

-They are the most colorful, with vivid golden auricular (ear) patches,
purple or lilac mandibular plates, blue-gray dorsal plumage, and
lemon-yellow or white breast and abdomen.

-They are widespread throughout the sub-Antarctic and feed mainly on fish
and squid which they catch below the surface of the water.


  GENTOO, CHINSTRAP & ADELIE PENGUINS

-All belong to the genus Pygoscelis.

-Smaller penguin, about half a meter tall (18-20 inches), slate-gray and
white with long brush-like tail feathers.


  MACARONI PENGUIN

-Not common in the Antarctic.


  OTHER SEABIRDS

-Although the penguin is the best known bird of the Antarctic, there are
many others which more closely resemble our idea of what a bird should be.

-The largest group of seabirds in the Antarctic are the petrels.

-The smallest is the storm petrel, weighing one to two ounces; it feeds at
sea, folding its wings vertically, giving it the appearance of walking on
water.

-The largest is the albatross, which can weigh up to 21 pounds and have a
wing span of 12 feet.

-It can remain at sea for months as it sleeps on the water and drinks sea
water.

-It can fly at speeds of 60 mph and with a favorable wind may reach speeds
as great as 100 mph.

-Another great bird traveler among the sea birds is the Arctic tern, which
flies farther in its migration than any other bird known.

-Each year it travels from the edge of the Arctic Ocean to the pack ice of
Antarctica, a distance of some 22,000 miles; it seems to follow the light,
fleeing the northern Arctic winter to enjoy a brief Antarctic summer.

-In late February, at the first indication of the south polar sunset, it
heads north again.

-No trees grow in Antarctica so birds have to make their nests in other
places such as nest-scrapes in the ground in ice-free spots near the shore
or in cracks on high, rocky cliffs.

-Gulls and cormorants build elaborate nests of moss, lichens, and kelp;
giant petrels build nests of empty limpet shells; penguins build nests of
small stones and pebbles.


  PERMANENT CONTINENT INHABITANTS

-On the whole great white Antarctic continent, the only creatures that
really live on the land are insects.

-Midges and mites live in patches of moss that grow on rocky mountain
sides, in spots that are sheltered from the wind.

-The insect eggs stay frozen all winter, and thaw and hatch the next year.

-The moss they live in often grows near bird rookeries, where it is
fertilized by bird excrement -- called "guano."

-Ticks and lice also live on the sea birds, penguins, and seals  the
largest land-living creature on the entire continent is the wingless fly,
about six mm long (about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch).


  ADAPTATIONS

In order to survive the harsh climate the many varieties of Antarctic
species have adapted to the environment.

Adaptation is an evolutionary change that allows an organism to function
better in a given environment.  An adaptation is a structure, function, or
behavior of an organism that helps in its survival or reproduction.

It is almost a miracle of nature that these animals can survive.  One of
the main reasons is that they have adapted to obtaining food from the sea
-- the Antarctic sea is filled with food.


  FLIPPERS

-Seals have flippers instead of legs and penguins have flippers instead of
wings.

-Flippers have enabled seals and penguins to adapt to their life at sea 
flippers help make them good swimmers for catching fish and krill and for
escaping predators.

-The Leopard Seal (predator) can swim faster than penguins (prey) but the
penguins are more agile and can zig-zag and dodge, so if the penguin has a
head start, it can escape -- swimming fast at an upward angle, popping six
feet in the air, and landing on the ice where it is safe.


  INSULATION

-Whales, seals, and penguins are all fat; their fat (or blubber) adapts
them to their life in the cold Antarctic.

-The penguin has fatty tissue under its skin and feathers, that are short
and close fitting and also provide insulation against the cold.

-The feathers are arranged in such a way that they trap air to provide
insulation and resist wind movement.

-Plumage insulation provides about 80% of the total insulation of penguins
and the feathers give out an oily substance which repels water and also
helps to keep body heat in.

-Plumage insulation is reinforced by subdermal fat which is found in all
healthy penguins but reaches its greatest thickness in Emperor penguins
(2-3 cm) and Adelies (1-2 cm).

-When plumage and subdermal fat are exerting their greatest insulation
efficiency, outward flow of heat is very slight.

-Snow settling against the plumage of resting birds usually remains
unmelted, forming an outer crust which further protects the birds from cold
and wind.

-The seal also has fatty tissue under its skin which retains heat; it has
hair (a characteristic mammalian feature) -- out of the water, hair forms
an effective insulation by trapping a stationary layer of air which is soon
warmed by the body temperature.

-In the water the air is driven out but the hair still retains a stable
water layer which reduces heat loss.

-The hair secretes an oily substance which adds to the insulative
properties of the hair.

-Another important function of fat is to act as a food reserve; because of
their extensive blubber layer -- developed primarily as a means of heat
conservation -- seals are able to undergo prolonged periods of fasting.


  ANTIFREEZE

Many of the fish in Antarctic waters have a body chemical in their blood
that resembles antifreeze -- a glycopeptide -- that prevents body fluids
from freezing that enables them to live in cold, deep water.


  HABITAT

The ability to live most or all of their life in water is added protection
as water provides yet another kind of insulation.


  OBJECTIVES:

  PROCESS OBJECTIVES

1-The students will be able to describe the lack of permanent inhabitants
in Antarctica.

2-The students will be able to identify the various adaptations and explain
how each enables a life form to better survive in the cold.


  CONTENT OBJECTIVES

1-The students will understand that there are no permanent  inhabitants in
Antarctica other than a few insects.

2-The students will understand that there is an abundance of life in
Antarctic waters which include the following:

  Whales

  Penguins

  Seals

  Fishes

  Seabirds

3-The students will learn that various adaptations enable the life forms to
survive in Antarctica.

 -Insulation for keeping warm -- blubber, hair, feathers.

 -Flippers for swimming -- to obtain food and escape predators.

 -Ability to survive in water which helps keep them warm.

 -"Antifreeze" in circulation system of fishes to prevent freezing.

 -Anatomical adaptations for ease in obtaining food.


  EQUIPMENT OR MATERIALS

  ASSESSMENT ACTIVITY

-Pictures or drawings of Antarctic life forms (5th/6th grade).

-Pictures or drawings of life forms not found in Antarctica.

-Small cards with the names of Antarctic life forms and non-Antarctic life
(8th/9th grade).

-Outline maps of Antarctica with surrounding oceans illustrated (I drew
them freehand on an artists' large sketch pad).

-Adaptation" chart (see Activity).


  CONCEPT INVENTION ACTIVITY #1

-8 oz. yogurt containers with lids.

-24 oz. cottage cheese containers with lids.

-Celsius thermometers.

-100ml graduated cylinders.

-Rectangular pieces of 2.5cm thick (or thicker) foam rubber, approximately
21cm x 28cm.

-Scissors.

-Masking or electrical tape.

-Heavy winter thermal socks, mittens, or scarves.

-Saline solution.

-Graph paper.


  CONCEPT INVENTION ACTIVITY #2

-Small test tubes.

-250ml beakers.

-Distilled water, antifreeze.

-Crushed ice/rock salt mixture


  CONCEPT INVENTION ACTIVITY #3

-Orange or yellow construction paper.

-Large cardboard boxes.

-Straw or shredded paper.

-Stop watches.

-Glue and tape


  EXPLORATION/ASSESSMENT OF PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Note:  The following information was obtained from a "clinical interview"
situation involving eighth graders.  As you prepare to teach this module,
you should be aware that:

1-The students seem to have a good understanding that the interior of the
continent is too cold and lacks vegetation, and therefore, no life can be
found there.

2-The students correctly identified whales, penguins, seals, and fish as
inhabitants of the ocean and continent's edge.

3-The students' ideas of adaptations seem to be strictly limited to
"blubber."


Some of the misconceptions are:

1-Polar bears, reindeer, wolves, moose (occasionally) live there; the polar
bear is a consistent misconception.

2-Birds couldn't live there because there is nothing to eat.

3-Penguins were covered with hair rather than feathers.  Some students
seemed surprised to realize the penguin was a bird.

4-An "alternative" misconception rather than an outright misconception is
that everything eats fish (i.e. fish are the only food resource).


  EXPLORATION ACTIVITY

This is an activity designed to stimulate student interest in the topic and
provide an indication of students' prior knowledge of the topic.  The
information is important for determining the starting point and level of
difficulty for instruction.


Note:  Use this assessment in a cooperative grouping manner.

1-Using a map with the Steger Expedition route illustrated, discuss the
direction of travel and locate the approximate present location.

2-Ask the students to answer the question:  "If you were traveling with the
Steger Expedition across Antarctica, what animals do you think you would
see?  Would you find animals anywhere else?  If so, where would they be and
what do you think they would be?  Have the groups of students discuss this
between  themselves and then plot the populations on the map as they see
fit.

3-Provide each student or group of two to three students, with an outline
map of Antarctica and either small pictures or name cards of various
animals and life forms.

4-Alternatively, the students could use numbers and a key to locate the
life forms.  This could be done by choosing from a prepared list (including
life forms not present there) or by simply letting the students generate
their own ideas.

5-Ask the groups to discuss how they think these animals can survive in the
extreme cold.  Have the group "secretary" write down those adaptations,
explaining how the groups think they work.


  CHART FOR ASSESSMENT ACTIVITY

  ____________________________________________________________
  |Adaptation                   |How It Works
  |_____________________________|_____________________________
  |_____________________________|_____________________________
  |_____________________________|_____________________________
  |_____________________________|_____________________________
  |_____________________________|_____________________________
  |_____________________________|_____________________________
  |_____________________________|_____________________________
  |_____________________________|_____________________________
  |_____________________________|_____________________________
  |_____________________________|_____________________________


6-Do this on the day previous to beginning the module and use the students'
ideas as the basis for a beginning activity.


  CONCEPT INVENTION ACTIVITIES

There are concept invention activities related to what lives in Antarctica
(Part A) and how they survive (Part B).  Select one or more activities from
each part.


  PART A

  CONCEPT INVENTION ACTIVITY #1

  WHAT LIVES IN ANTARCTICA AND WHEN?

-Use "Brainstorming" and Socratic Discussion to establish exactly what life
forms are found in Antarctica and when.

-Begin with questions developed from the assessment activity.

Need to establish:

-Whales migrate there to feed on large populations of krill.

-Seals remain there year-round but predominantly in the Antarctic waters.

-Penguins are there year-round but spend much of the winter in the
Antarctic waters.

-Seabirds spend part of their life there.

-Fish are in the waters in abundance.

-Krill provide the main diet for the other animals.

-Need to emphasize that life forms of the Arctic are not necessarily found
in the Antarctic, specifically polar bear, reindeer, wolves, and moose.

-Need to emphasize that penguins are a Southern hemisphere life form and
that polar bear  are a Northern hemisphere life form.


  CONCEPT INVENTION ACTIVITY #2

  WHAT LIVES IN ANTARCTICA AND WHEN?

This could be done in cooperative groups.

-Have students go to the library and do a research project on "What lives
in Antarctica and When?" without worrying too much about the adaptations.

-This can be made simple (naming the life forms) or complex (some detail on
each life form) -- teachers use discretion.

-Teacher can use this information for further Socratic discussion.


  PART B

  CONCEPT INVENTION ACTIVITY #1

  ADAPTING TO THE COLD

The Antarctic animals spend part of their time on the edge of the ice and
part of their time in the water, or entirely in the water.  Somehow they
survive -- they have adapted  to their cold biome.  In this investigation,
you will see two ways that animals are protected from the extreme
temperatures of their biome.


  MATERIALS

Each group of students will need:

-Three 250 ml containers with lids (8 oz. yogurt cartons, for example).

-Two 750 ml containers with lids (24 oz. cottage cheese cartons work well)/

-Three thermometers (Celsius).

-One graduated cylinder.

-One piece of 2.5cm thick (or thicker) foam rubber, approximately 21cm x
28cm.

-Scissors, tape.

-Piece of winter clothing such as a heavy sock, a mitten, or scarf.

-Saline solution at room temperature.


  PURPOSE

To see how animals adapt to long-term exposure to cold.

I. INSULATION

Procedure

1-Mark the small containers 1, 2, and 3.  These represent your "animals."

2-Measure 125 ml. of 45C water into each small container.  The water in each
"animal" should be the same temperature.

3-Carefully punch a hole in each lid, just large enough to insert the
thermometer.

4-Insert the thermometers and close each lid.

5-Leave "animal 1" as is to represent no fat or fur/feathers layer.  Wrap
"animal 2" in the foam jacket (secure with tape) and "animal 3" in the
piece of winter clothing.  These represent two different kinds of cold
weather adaptations (blubber layer and fur/feathers layer).

6-Ask students for predictions at this point.  Which "animal" do you think
will stay the warmest?  Which "animal" do you think will cool the fastest?

7-Record the temperature of the "animals" every two minutes for 16 minutes
(this can be changed if teacher chooses).

8-This activity may be done in the classroom.  However, on a cool day, the
results would be much more dramatic if students work outdoors.

9-Record temperatures in form of Data Table 1.

                                               Animal

                                   | 1         |  2         |  3
  _________________________________|___________|____________|_______________
  |                               |           |             |
  |Time         |Temperature      |(Naked)    | (Foam)      |(Winter Fabric)
  |_____________|_________________|___________|_____________|_______________
  |_0___________|_________________|___________|_____________|_______________
  |_2___________|_________________|___________|_____________|_______________
  |_4___________|_________________|___________|_____________|_______________
  |_6___________|_________________|___________|_____________|_______________
  |_8___________|_________________|___________|_____________|_______________
  |10___________|_________________|___________|_____________|_______________
  |12___________|_________________|___________|_____________|_______________
  |14___________|_________________|___________|_____________|_______________
  |16___________|_________________|___________|_____________|_______________
  |_____________|_________________|___________|_____________|_______________


10-Draw a graph making a line for each "animal" (using a different color or
symbol for each "animal").  Plot time on the x axis and temperature on the
y axis.

11-Questions to ask after the lab:

a-What effect does a layer of insulation have on the temperature of a
warm-blooded animal?

b-How does a layer of insulation keep the animal warm?  (Prevents loss of
body heat).

c-In the experiment, the temperature continued to fall even with the best
insulator.  How do you think the Antarctic animals make up for this loss?
(Metabolic energy-body uses food to produce heat energy.)


II.  HABITAT

If the temperature in the Antarctic winter averages -50 degrees C, most
animals need more protection than just insulation.  Seals and penguins
spend most of their time in the water with the whales and fish.  Does this
provide more protection?


  PROCEDURE

1-Set up 2 small containers with hot water as before, to represent "animal
1" and "animal 2".  "Animal 1" will remain on the edge of the ice
surrounded only by the cold air but out of the wind, so put it inside one
of the larger containers.  Poke a hole in the lid of the large container
and put a thermometer through both holes.  (You now have a small, closed
container containing warm water inside a larger closed container containing
air with the thermometer in the smaller container.)

2-"Animal 2" will spend much of its time in the water, so set up the
containers as for "animal 1" but put the saline solution in the larger
container (to represent an animal surrounded by salt water).

3-Ask students for predictions at this point - In which container do you
think the animal will stay the warmest?

4-Record the temperature as in Part A in Data Table 2.  (This part of the
investigation is definitely more dramatic and effective if done outside.)

5-Draw a second graph with a line for each animal as before.


  QUESTIONS TO ASK AFTER THE LAB:

1-Which "animal" cooled fastest?

2-What is the best estimate of the temperature of this "animal" after 30
minutes?  (Calls for extrapolation of graph.)

3-What temperature will eventually be reached by both "animals?"
(Temperature of surroundings.)

4-How does spending most, or all, of their life in the ocean help an animal
survive in the Antarctic?  (Provides insulation to prevent heat loss.)


  CONCEPT INVENTION ACTIVITY #2

  ADAPTING TO THE COLD

Fish in the Antarctic waters have a chemical in their blood -- glycopeptide
-- that resembles the antifreeze that we put in our car radiators.  Does
this chemical help the fish survive?


  MATERIALS

Each group of students will need:

-Two small test tubes.

-Two  250ml beakers.

-25ml distilled water.

-10ml antifreeze.

-Crushed ice/rock salt mixture.


  PURPOSE

To see what effect "antifreeze" has on a liquid in very cold temperatures.


  PROCEDURE

1-Mark the test tubes 1 and 2.  These represent your "fish".

2-Measure 10ml of distilled water into test tube 1 and 5ml of distilled
water into test tube 2.

3-Carefully measure 5ml of antifreeze and add to test tube 2.

4-Pack ice/rock salt mixture into beakers - about three quarters full.

5-Put a test tube into each of the beakers.

6-Ask students for predictions at this point.

-Which "fish" will freeze?

7-Make observations at one minute intervals until you observe a major
physical change in one, or both "fishes."

8-This activity is designed for the classroom and need not be done
outdoors.


                            Physical State

  __________________________________________________|
  |             |                 |                 |
  |Time         | Test Tube 1     | Test Tube 2     |
  |_____________|_________________|_________________|
  |_0___________|____Liquid_______|____Liquid_______|
  |_1___________|_________________|_________________|
  |_2___________|_________________|_________________|
  |_3___________|_________________|_________________|
  |_4___________|_________________|_________________|


9-Questions to ask after the lab:

a-What effect does the antifreeze have on the liquid in the test tube?
(Stops it from freezing.)

b-How does this help the Antarctic fish live in its environment?  (Prevents
its blood from freezing and, therefore, keeps it functioning.)

c-If the environment is so cold, how do you think the Antarctic fish
generate heat in order to function?  (Metabolic energy -- body uses food to
produce heat energy.)


  EXTENSION ACTIVITY

(For further investigation)

Interactions Among Living Things Penguin researchers have reported the
possibility of increased metabolic rates in penguins under constant
observation, particularly when sitting on eggs or new hatchlings.  In this
investigation you will observe whether there is a tendency for a change in
behavior to occur in an animal under observation.


  MATERIALS

Each group of students will need:

-Large cardboard box with straw (this will be the "nest" and, therefore,
should be large enough to sit in).

-Orange/yellow construction paper to make penguin bills.

-Stopwatch.

-Glue, tape, etc. to make the penguin bills.

-Notebook of paper for recording observations.


  PURPOSE

To see what effect constant observation by a one species has on another
species.


  PROCEDURE

1-The group should select a "penguin" to be observed, the other two will
act as scientists.

2-If permission can be obtained, place the "nests and penguins" in
strategic locations in high traffic areas, such as close to the lunchroom
during a lunch hour.

3-Roles and Observations -- "Penguin" -- the student will sit on the "nest"
during the high traffic time without making any comments to passersby.
"Penguin" will take note of his/her emotions and reactions during this
time.  Using a stopwatch, one "scientist" will record the pulse rate of the
penguin before the experiment begins and then quickly after the observation
time is over.  The role of the second "scientist" will be to observe the
behavior of both the "penguin" and the passers -- by during the experiment
and note the observations (ethnographic data).  If time permits, the roles
could be switched and the activity repeated for one or two more days.  The
results could then be combined and a conclusion reached.

4-The observation time should last about ten minutes.

5-After the observations are over, the group should discuss their results
and what they mean.


  QUESTIONS TO ASK AFTER THE EXPERIMENT:

1-What happened to the pulse rate of the student under observation?

2-What kind of behaviors did the student under observation exhibit?

3-What kind of behaviors did the "observers" exhibit as they passed by?

4-As the student under observation, describe the reactions you had to the
passersby.

5-How can you interpret these results and how could you apply them to
penguin behavior?

6-Predict what might happen to the penguin colonies in the future if this
observation behavior continues.


  APPLICATION ACTIVITY

Select one or both of the following activities to provide students with
practice applying their new knowledge.


  APPLICATION ACTIVITY #1

Note:  This can be done as a cooperative group.


  ADAPTATION IN TWO HUSKY SLED DOGS

A husky sled dog, part of a dog team that scientists in Antarctica use,
gives birth to two puppies.  As part of an experiment scientists take one
puppy to Southern California and leave the other one in Antarctica.  Two
years later, the dogs are reunited for sled dog training.

The scientists note that both dogs have thick, furry coats.  However, the
Antarctic-raised dog has soft, thick fur on its stomach while the
California dog does not.  The California dog has almost bare, pink skin
showing on its stomach.


  ESSAY

Write an explanation of why you think this happened.  Think about these
things as you are writing:

-How does fur on the stomach help the Antarctic dog?

-How does fur on the head, back, sides, and legs help the California dog?

-How does lack of fur on the underside help the California dog?


  APPLICATION ACTIVITY #2

  CREATING AN ANTARCTIC LIFE FORM

This can be performed individually or in a cooperative group.

-Invent a new life form that you think could survive on the land year round
in Antarctica.

-Think about the adaptations you have learned about.

-Draw and label a diagram of your new life form.

-Describe your new life form and its adaptations and how they will help it
survive.

-If time permits have students make a paper mache model and paint it.


  EVALUATION

  ESSAY TEST

In this essay students should answer the following questions:

1-What life forms are found in the Antarctic, where are they found, and why
are they found there?

2-What adaptations enable the life forms to survive and how do they work?

3-What are the similarities and the uniqueness of the adaptations?

4-How are the Antarctic life forms and Arctic life forms alike?  Different?

Students should support their claims with experimental results whenever
possible.


Patricia A. Weeg
pweeg@shore.intercom.net
Return to Global Classroom