How do you study whales?

Dena Seidel has been learning how whale biologist Dave Johnston studies whales.  Dr. Johnston and  Zach Swaim study humpback whales in the waters near Palmer Station using zodiacs and Dena has captured film footage during this research.  Dr. Johnston has a license from NOAA to tag and take biopsy samples. Biopsies are small tissue samples.  Since you cannot get really close to these large animals, sampling is done from a distance (see photo).  These methods will allow  this research group to track these whales to learn more about their feeding behavior and diet.


Zach Swaim sends a tag in the direction of the humpback whale in this NOAA-approved research studies. (Photo: Dena Seidel)


What is Palmer Station?

Palmer Station in Antarctica is the first destination for the AQ Team.  But what exactly is Palmer Station, and more importantly, where is Palmer Station?  Let’s start with what it is. Palmer Station was established in 1968 and is one of three U.S. Antarctic stations governed by the Antarctic Treaty.   Since 1990, Palmer Station has also served as a Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site located in a Western Antarctic Peninsula marine biome. In other words, it is a place where scientist gather to collect data and make observations on Antarctic and Southern Ocean Marine Ecology.  As for where it is located, see if you can find it on the map below and then see the next Blog post.

Map of Antarctica. Palmer Station is located on the Western Antarctic Peninsula.

Sources: and



Heading to Palmer Station, Antarctica

The AQ Team has arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile and have boarded their ship, called the RV Laurence M. Gould (red ship in photo below).  This ship is an icebreaker used by researchers from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) as a research and supply vessel.  To learn more about the life aboard the Gould, see the United States Antarctic Program.

The AQ Team are now steaming toward Palmer station.  Here are two recent photos from Dena Seidel in Punta Arenas.

The AQ Team head to Antarctica aboard the icebreaker Gould (red ship).

View from the deck of the Gould leaving dock from Punta Arenas, Chile.

AQ Team in Chile

After leaving New Jersey on a rainy December 26, the AQ team arrived in Chile.

AQ Team Flying into Chile

AQ Team Gets Local Press

Rutgers Oscar Schofield and Dena Seidel were featured in the Asbury Park Press on December 25, 2012.

To see the article click here:


Film Bureau crew packs for Antarctica

Dena Seidel gets help packing the equipment for the Antarctic Quest trip

Our Rutgers Film Bureau team is madly packing for Antarctica. We have two 35 mm HD movie cameras, 6 interchangeable lenses, 4 DSLRs with a total of 5 more interchangeable lenses, underwater housing, Go-Pro, shotgun mics, lavaliers, boompoles and tripods, 40TB of storage – we shipping 3 pelican cases full of camera gear. We are trying to prepare for filming on a deck at high seas, in a zodiac or on a penguin colony. Chris Linder and I are speaking every day making sure we are not forgetting anything!

Dena Seidel

Antarctica Photo

Oscar Schofield last made the journey to Antarctica earlier this year.  Here’s a stunning photo he sent back to us at Rutgers:

Adelaide Island in the background with iceberg in the foreground. January 2012.