TAMUCC Researchers Study Pollution's Effects on Antarctic Life - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

TAMUCC Researchers Study Pollution's Effects on Antarctic Life

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One researcher out of the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi knows first hand how cold it is in Antarctica. He's been there a dozen times, all in an effort to combat pollution.

"Life clings to anything, so even in the polluted, the number of organisms and the diversity is a lot lower in the polluted sports, but there's still a lot of life there in the polluted areas," researcher Terry Palmer said.

Palmer recently returned from Antarctica on a research mission that has been ongoing since 2000. The team spent four weeks enduring a wind chill of minus 10-degrees and experiencing the effects of a sun that never set.

Scientists were specifically looking for the effects of decades of pollution on the life forms that continue to thrive in Antarctica.

For another TAMUCC researcher, Larry Hyde, it was his first time there.

"I had a lot of trepidation before we got there because we had a lot of equipment to put on. A lot of cold-weather gear to put on before we stepped off the plane," Hyde said. "And our instructions were to be fully clothed and have all of our protection on, so I expected to walk off the plane and experience something like stepping onto Mars. But it actually wasn't nearly that bad. It was extremely cold, probably in the teens, but because the humidity is so low, it didn't really feel that cold."

The researchers are hopeful that they will learn to determine how much of an impact humans are having on Antarctica, and to see if contamination declines over time.

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