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Ross Sea

Regarded by scientists as the world's last remaining intact ecosystem, the Ross Sea explodes with life in the brief summer months. Whales, seabirds, and seals converge here to take advantage of the all-you-can-eat buffet. At the base of this productive food chain are tiny marine plants called phytoplankton. An interdisciplinary team, led by scientists from Rutgers University, is studying the ingredients that fuel phytoplankton growth. Using a suite of high-tech tools including robotic gliders, the team is tracking deep currents that deliver nutrients and trace metals like iron onto the Ross Sea shelf and conducting experiments to understand the role of these essential 'vitamins' in supporting the ecosystem. Read daily dispatches on the Ross Sea Connection website.