Lost Antarctica

USAP scientist publishes book about climate change on southernmost continent

McClintock’s first book traces the evolution of his career as a young graduate student on his first expedition to his current research into the effects of ocean acidification and invasive species on the Antarctic environment. Lost Antarctica has garnered praise from such science luminaries as Edward O. Wilson and Susan Solomon to billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and historian Douglas Brinkley.

McClintock recently answered a few questions about the book for The Antarctic Sun.

3. You devote a whole chapter of the book to ocean acidification, and you recently embarked on a project with your long-time colleague Chuck Amsler, also at UAB, on this very subject at Palmer Station, as well as conducted some preliminary experiments before 2012. What are the results so far from your experiments and observations, and how concerned are you about the vulnerability of polar marine organisms to acidifying oceans based on current climate projections?

The research program I am collaborating on with Chuck Amsler and Robert Angus — both faculty in my biology department here at UAB — has completed its first of two field seasons at Palmer Station. We have two doctoral students involved in the research. Julie Schram and Kate Schoenrock spent the 2011-12 field season investigating the impacts of ocean acidification and rising elevated seawater temperature on calcified marine invertebrates (two gastropod species) and a calcifying alga (coralline alga), respectively.

They are currently analyzing their data and conducting laboratory-based studies on the specimens shipped back to UAB. The results should become apparent over the next few months. I am hoping that the conditions we simulated in our studies (levels of carbon dioxide and temperature anticipated my mid-century) will demonstrate that at least over the near term there are not negative effects on the species we investigated. The jury is still out.

Peter Rejcek, The Antarctic Sun, 16 November 2012. Article.

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