AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn University professor Kenneth Halanych and his colleagues have made a new scientific discovery: acorn worms found in deep waters surrounding Antarctica secrete a tube around their bodies. The discovery of an acorn worm with the ability to make tubes is significant as the only other worms of this type known to make tubes lived more than 500 million years ago near the dawn of animal life on earth.
The group’s discovery comes on the heels of the first of two Antarctic research cruises. Last January, a team of scientists from the College of Sciences and Mathematics’ William P. and Ruth W. Molette Environmental and Climate Change Studies Laboratory spent six weeks on a research cruise exploring the genetic diversity of marine organisms found in the waters surrounding Earth’s southernmost continent.
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Allyson Comstock, a professor in the Department of Art in Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts, has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant through the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program.
Comstock is one of just two artists and the only awardee from Alabama to be selected this year. She will travel to Antarctica in October and will spend two months working collaboratively with researchers at Palmer Station to create a set of 30 total drawings to represent the Antarctic environment.
Auburn University Professor Vitaly Vodyanoy (left) and research assistant Oleg Pustovyy prepare to attach the Ilumna 120 to a microscope in their research laboratory.
– Auburn University researchers have built a rechargeable microscope illumination system for NASA scientists who are using it during Antarctic expeditions.
Professor Vitaly Vodyanoy and research assistant Oleg Pustovyy of the AU Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology built the patent-pending Ilumna 120 to help NASA scientists observe microscopic life in areas where there is no electricity. NASA used it on a preliminary, 11-day trip in February and will take it in November for three months during the Tawani Foundation International 2008 Schirmacher Oasis Antarctica Expedition.