Bizarre creatures—ancient sponges, gigantic jellyfish, sea spiders, ribbon worms, and notothenioid fishes that manage not to freeze—make their home here. “Every time I come down here, every year, I always find something I haven’t seen before,” diver Steve Rupp says.
To discover Antarctica’s dazzling hidden underbelly, host Arlo Pérez meets with Steve and his fellow Antarctic diver Rob Robbins, while host Caitlin Saks explores the McMurdo Aquarium with evolutionary physiologist Chi-Hing Christina Cheng. Arlo and Caitlin learn that the Antarctic marine realm is not only spectacular to see, but fascinating for scientists to study. The water is so cold that fish inhabiting it should freeze like an icicle, a phenomenon that evolutionary biologist Paul Cziko uses supercooled water, snow, and fish guts to demonstrate.
So how do Antarctica’s fish, which penguins and seals rely on for food, survive in waters below their freezing point? To find out, Caitlin and Arlo go ice fishing with a local legend, biologist Art DeVries, who has been studying fish physiology in Antarctica since 1961. The secret is an evolutionary marvel that has major implications...for ICE CREAM.