Polar Science 2009

A YES I Can! Science Project  

Investigating the unique adaptations that allow
young Weddell seal pups to develop into elite divers

Featured Blogs

Final Thoughts on Polar Science 2009
Tom Hawke

'Final Words' - Reflections on the Polar Science 2009 Project

Webcast #5 Replays Posted

Webcast #4 Replays Posted

Polar Science Webcast #4 - Meet the Weddell Seal

Webcast #3 Replays Posted

Polar Science Webcast #3 - Visit the Kanatous Lab

Webcast #2 Posted

Guest Blogger - Which animals will be most affected by ice loss? Are they in danger of extinction?
Jose Xavier

Polar Science Webcast #2 - Muscle Beach!

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Welcome to the Polar Science 2009 Project

The third in a series of award-winning Polar Science projects developed by YES I Can! Science, this is an exciting opportunity to collaborate via blog and webcast with other classes from around the world, and learn from biologists Dr. Shane Kanatous and Dr. Thomas Hawke how marine mammals live and thrive in extreme environments.

In 2005 and 2006 we followed the Antarctic field seasons of a team of scientists from the United States and Canada. Led by Dr. Shane Kanatous, the team is trying to answer the question - how do the skeletal muscles of seals develop to work during deep dives, even when the animal is not breathing for long periods of time. The researchers believe the answers to this question may have tremendous implications for human medicine. By understanding how another mammal has successfully overcome the debilitating effects of working under low oxygen conditions, we may be able to learn new therapeutic approaches to assist humans with heart or lung disease.

While 2009 is not a field season for Dr. Kanatous and his research team, we will be working with both Dr. Kanatous and Dr. Hawke from their labs in Colorado and Ontario. They are very generously giving their time to help us investigate the physiology of the Weddell seal, and its amazing ability to exercise deep under water without the need to take a breath. Along the way, you'll gain a better understanding of the workings of your own cardiovascular system.

The project will run for six weeks from October 15 - December 3, 2009 and is open to grades 6-12 classes anywhere in the world. See the Focus Areas for the project schedule and student investigations.

Thanks to everyone, teachers, students and scientists, who took such an active part in Polar Science 2009. You are leaving a valuable archive of your learning that will benefit students for years to come. Unfortunately this project has now officially come to an end; it's time for us to move on to planning new projects. These will be announced on the YES I Can! Science home page as they become available.

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsor EnCana, all YES I Can! Science projects are offered free of charge.