Honors College Thesis

 

Fire and Ice: Reflections at the End of the Earth Public

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  • Antarctica is all but forgotten by most people, but its mere presence shapes the world in which we live, controlling global climate, wind and weather patterns, ocean currents, and associated plant and animal communities. The Antarctic food web is supported entirely by algae and small shrimp-like crustaceans known as krill, while each in its own way contributes to the global carbon cycle and plays a critical role in controlling global warming. At the same time, the Antarctic continent itself as well as its often highly specialized flora and fauna is threatened by global warming, overfishing, tourism, and other human activities. In the context of my own travels to Antarctica in January 2007, I have also selected certain species of native fauna that I encountered and which I feel to be representative of the majesty of the Antarctic Peninsula, and which I hope will inspire a commitment to the preservation of Antarctica for its own sake.
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