School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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Collecting Ice Cores in the Arctic

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  • Algae: eukaryotic organisms (ones that have membrane-enclosed cell parts) that live in fresh and salt water. They can be free floating or attached to a surface... more
  • Plankton: a group of free floating organisms living in water that includes many kinds of plants and animals... more

Imagine you want to pull a long cylinder-shaped piece of soil (called a core) out of the ground in your backyard. You'd need a tool to cut the ground, another to help pull it out, another to store it afterward, along with probably a dozen other random tools you didn't think you'd need.

In your backyard, you can easily go into the house and probably find something that will work to help with the job. But what if you were in the middle of an icy field, with no house or extra supplies to turn to?

To learn more about the Arctic eco-system visit the Frozen Life page, or to learn more about plankton check out an Invisibile Watery World.

A researcher uses a drill to extract an ice core.

Researchers use a special drill to collect cores from the frozen ice.

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A researcher uses a drill to extract an ice core.

Researchers use a special drill to collect cores from the frozen ice.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.