THE BIG MELT: TALES OF ANTARCTICA

October 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Every austral summer, hundreds of scientists and their support staffs travel to the southernmost continent where they live for several months in stations and field camps. What exactly are they doing? What really happens on the ice?

In Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s novel, The Big Bang Symphony, three women – a geologist, a composer, and a galley worker – take jobs in Antarctica, where they each fall in love and into trouble. “Bledsoe captures the deadly beauty of the southernmost continent….A well-balanced humdinger of a story keeps this unusual novel hurtling along like a skidoo on the ice.” (Kirkus Reviews) Bledsoe has traveled to Antarctica three times, twice as a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers Fellowship.

The Antarctic has been warming dramatically in recent decades with changes seen from loss of sea ice, through trophic levels all the way to penguins. Grace Saba’s research focuses on physical biological coupling and food web dynamics – how changes in the environment reverberate through the food web. She studies how ocean acidification impacts communities of phytoplankton, as well as Antarctic krill physiology. The challenge of conducting field work in such an isolated, harsh place makes for wild and compelling stories.

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