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Fathoming life under the ice

This past austral summer season, two artists who specialize in science communication visited McMurdo Station to begin a multi-media, multi-faceted project with the aim of improving public knowledge of Antarctic marine life. The artists traveled to McMurdo Station from mid-October through early December to scuba dive under the frozen ocean surface to document the wide array of animals and organisms that live below. It is a time of year that is particularly spectacular, as visibility under the sea ice can extend 900 feet. Over the course of their 33 dives, they took numerous photographs and videos and even sketched their surroundings in below-freezing water using waterproof supplies. Though the two have extensive diving experience, they encountered trials unique to cold water diving, which they tried to incorporate into their artistic process. They hope that by producing several different projects they will reach a wider audience and allow people to form a connection between art, science and the natural world in different ways. Shown above: At the dive hole near Arrival Heights, Antarctica, Kirsten Carlson sketches a giant sponge and its neighbors

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