As we approach the one-year mark of Jaren Bradford’s extraordinary journey to the Antarctic, we take a closer look at his scientific adventure. Jaren embarked on an expedition aboard the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP) with a diverse team of scientists, ranging from chemical oceanographers, geologists, marine biologists, and environmental researchers, all driven by a common curiosity about the enigmatic processes of Antarctica.

Jaren Bradford in his Leaaf shirt!                                                                                                                  RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP) 

Unveiling Antarctica’s Secrets

Jaren’s research cruise had a clear mission: to delve into the timing and mechanisms behind the retreat of the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) after the Last Glacial Maximum, an era dating back 18,000 to 28,000 years. This quest for knowledge would provide invaluable insights into our planet’s past and its possible future. During the expedition’s second leg, the NBP made a fascinating stop at McMurdo Station to pick up an extraordinary team led by Dr. Gitte McDonald, who specializes in studying the now-endangered Emperor Penguins. Their mission was to unravel the mysteries of Emperor Penguin breeding and movement patterns, shedding light on the lives of these incredible creatures.


After nearly three months and two cruises, the team aboard the NBP accomplished:

  1. 7,740 Square Kilometers of Multibeam Bathymetry Data: The team’s meticulous work provided a detailed underwater map covering this vast expanse, enhancing our understanding of the Antarctic landscape.
  2. Over 30 Meters of Sediment Core: With over 1,000 pounds of sediment extracted, Jaren and his colleagues acquired invaluable geological samples that hold the secrets of the region’s history.
  3. Sampling Over 3.5 Tons of Seawater: This immense quantity of seawater samples opens doors to a deeper comprehension of the complex Antarctic ecosystem.
  4. Tagging 33 Penguins: The penguin scientists on board made vital contributions to conservation efforts, tagging these magnificent creatures and advancing our understanding of their behavior.

Since returning from the Antarctic, Jaren has completed his Master’s Thesis titled “Grounding Line and Calving Front Retreat In Glomar Challenger Basin and Pennell Trough of Ross Sea, Antarctica Reconstructed from Diatom Abundances and Assemblages.” He is excited to see how the data he helped collect will shape the future of scientific research in the region, as his work holds the potential to bridge crucial gaps in our understanding of grounded ice retreats. This knowledge is indispensable in preparing for the environmental challenges linked to rising sea levels and increasing atmospheric temperatures. Antarctica’s secrets are slowly being unveiled, thanks to dedicated scientists like Jaren and his team.

Jaren and the team