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A Night with the Krill Gang

The Healy is breaking through the ice as it heads north, with bright searchlights and loud crunching sounds. It’s 2:30 a.m., and two women are standing on the deck with their hands in slushy, ice-cold water up to their wrists. Long rubber gloves are keeping them dry, but there’s not a lot you can do for warmth in water that comes straight out of the icy Bering Sea.

What’s all this for? Why, research, of course. The women are members of the krill team, studying what the tiny crustaceans eat. For that they need to run 24-hour experiments in an incubator on deck—an incubator filled with freezing seawater.

Krill are food for larger fish and, of course, for fin whales and humpbacks. These experiments will help scientists understand what krill eat and how they fit into the Bering Sea ecosystem.

Read on about our adventure in the slideshow below. Can't see the slideshow? Get the Flash plug in »

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