This page includes photographs from Bethan Davies’ and colleagues various research trips and expeditions.

The video below by Andy Mumford shows some beautiful photography from Iceland.

Rothera Research Station

Map showing Rothera research station, Alexander Island and Palmer Land. Note George VI Ice Shelf.

Our November 2012 field season to Alexander Island (Ablation Point Massif and Fossil Bluff) operated out of Rothera, a research station of the British Antarctic Survey. We flew to Rothera from Punta Arenas airport in a Dash-7 aircraft, and were quickly inducted.

You can explore Rothera Research Station through the Google Map below.

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Fieldwork training

Our first task was to complete the mandatory training for deep fieldwork. This involved spending a night camping out at Vals as well as walking Reptile Ridge with our field assistant, Ian Hey. This meant that we could practise using crampons and ice axes, get to know each other, and Ian could assess our fitness and abilities.

Wildlife at Rothera

When we arrived at Rothera it was still ice-bound with no wildlife. However, when we returned in mid-December, the sea ice had blown away and the seals and penguins had returned. You can see them in this video showcasing some of the wildlife around Rothera:

Working at Rothera

Many people conduct science and research from Rothera research station. There is a long-term environmental monitoring and research project, investigating marine ecology around Rothera Point. In December, the divers were out in full force.

Recreation at Rothera

Rest and recreation on your days off at Rothera includes skiing, walking, or persuading a field assistant to take you down a crevasse.

Wildlife at Rothera

Wildlife at Rothera

Belinda Vause is a marine biologist at Rothera

Rothera sees a wide variety of wildlife throughout the year. All of the large animals around Rothera rely on the ocean and particularly on krill as a basis for their diet; there is very little that grows on land.

Seals, penguins and whales form the majority of the wildlife seen at Rothera during the short summer season. During the winter, Rothera is ice-bound with very little wildlife. Continue reading

Flying through the air

An interview with a pilot

A twin otter (note two propellors) lands on the runway

Rothera has four twin-otter aeroplanes and one larger Dash-7. The twin otters land on skis and are the robust little landrovers of the Antarctic. They can land anywhere that is flat and snowy, and they can raise their skis to land on blue ice or gravel. Versatile and compact, they also have an extremely short take off and landing. They do, however, have a smaller payload when compared to the Baslers used by some other nations. Continue reading

Interview with the Doctor

Many people are needed to keep base life running smoothly. There are mechanics and electricians, chippys and project managers, chefs and field assistants, radio (comms) operators, meteorologists and weather forecasters, pilots and plane engineers, base assistants (who drive the heavy machinery) and so on. And in order to keep all these people happy and healthy, there are two doctors on base in summer. This summer, Rothera has Dr Rose Drew and Dr Jen Hine. In this blog post, I conduct an Interview with the Doctor at Rothera Research Station. Continue reading

Down into the Dark

Crevasses open up when the glacier is stretched (under tensile stress)

On Saturday, the field assistants Cheese and Roger laid on a recreational trip down our local crevasse. Crevasses open up as glaciers move, and are the result of brittle failure of the ice as it slips downslope. Crevasses are a significant hazard on any glacierised terrain, and can extend all the way down to the bottom of the glacier. They also trap surface water, and can divert surface streams to the base of the glacier. Surface streams aren’t, however, too much of a problem around Rothera at the moment! Continue reading

Part 2: Training and preparation

Thursday 1st November

We use skidoos to get around. This one is named after my sister Sian!

Today our training for deep field began in earnest. We were given a more extended tour, taught how to safely drive skidoos, how to avoid being eaten by aeroplane propellers (Rothera is a busy airport with one of the few gravel strip runways in the area), how to use the items in the field medical boxes, and how to light and prime a tilly lamp and primus stove. Continue reading

Wildlife photographs

Wildlife photographs from James Ross Island and around the Antarctic Peninsula, taken by Bethan Davies during the 2011 and 2012 field seasons.

See also the Wildlife at Rothera blog post.

Chinstrap penguins at Point Wild, northern Antarctic Peninsula, March 2012.

Wildlige at Rothera