Photo Album: Arctic Wildlife


From: Haley Smith Kingsland, Stanford University





The Van Veen Grab, an instrument that grasps and traps soft bottom sediments, brought up this brittle star one day as well. Other times it captured sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sea stars, sea sponges, crabs, and sculpin fish. One of our stations, the Chukchi Hotspot, was particularly teeming with bottom-dwelling organisms. (Photo by Haley Smith Kingsland)





While steaming through the sea ice at the end of our journey, the Healy stirred the seawater enough that seabirds followed the ship’s wake diving for food like Arctic cod. “When the ship stopped, all the birds rested on the ice,” oceanographer Jim Swift observed. “This went on at all hours, day and night.” Here’s an ivory gull that lives on the sea ice. (Photo by Haley Smith Kingsland)





Black-legged kittiwakes are known to follow ships. This one is a juvenile. (Photo by Haley Smith Kingsland)





Two pomarine skuas hassle a black-legged kittiwake in attempt to steal the fish it caught. “Those three days the seabirds were following us, I felt like we weren’t alone,” said Melissa Miller of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her brother is an ornithologist, so she grew up watching and identifying birds. “For me, seeing them is comforting.” (Photo by Haley Smith Kingsland)





Science stopped one morning while everyone went on deck to witness four polar bears: most likely a mother (left), two cubs from this year, and one from last year. Karen Frey of Clark University noticed a radio collar around the mother’s neck, so her movements are being tracked. (Photo by Karen Frey)