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March 29th, 2006

Grad student pens educational diary about science in Antarctica

Karen Cozzetto was the main contributor to an educational website, 77 Degrees South, that showcases the life, times, and research of several groups of scientists working in the largest ice-free region of Antarctica: the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Cozzetto's focus was on the Antarctic "Stream Team," which studies the hydrology and ecology of glacial meltwater streams and is managed by Diane McKnight. The website is geared towards middle and high school students, and presents science and happenings on the southernmost continent in the form of fun journal entries with lots of photos. Journal topics range from glacier dynamics to diving in ice-covered lakes for low-light algae photosynthesis research, from eclipses to the ins and outs of helicopter travel, and from the intricacies of environmentally managing our human waste to the top signs you’ve been in the field for three months. Most of the entries from the 2005-2006 field season were by Cozzetto and posted with the help of volunteer website designer Emma Hernandez (Cozzetto was also the main contributor in 2003-2004 and 2002-2003). The site has been viewed by people on all seven continents and several journal entries have been selected for inclusion in NSF’s Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE). The website is supported and hosted by the National Science Foundation's McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program.