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Life in the Freezer - The Big Freeze Worksheet

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Worksheet to accompany the fifth episode of the Life in the Freezer BBC nature series entitled 'The Big Freeze.'

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									Name: __________________________ Class: _____________________ Date: _____________________


                                  BBC Life in the Freezer
                                             Part 5 – The Big Freeze
As winter arrives in Antarctica, the sun sets and will not return for several weeks. The interior of the continent is nearly
totally devoid of life, as the cold air, fierce winds, and lack of food make this environment inhospitable. However, there
are a few species that are able to survive even these conditions.




           Each of these locations is featured in this documentary. Mark them on the map above.
                                     The Antarctic Plateau – 77°S, 150°E
                                     McMurdo Dry Valleys – 77°S, 162°E

Weddell Seals
    1. How much bigger is Antarctica once the winter sea freeze occurs?



    2. Weddell seals are able to live farther south than any other mammal on the entire planet. Describe a
       physical and behavioral adaptation that allows them to occupy this habitat.



    3. What do Antarctic fish have that prevents them from freezing solid at these temperatures?



    4. What food source do the underwater star fish survive on?

Biology Teaching Resources                                             http://www.aurumscience.com                    Page 1
 5. Why is Weddell seal milk so high in fat?



 6. How do the seals scrape the ice away to form the openings? What impact does this have in their overall
    lifespan?



 7. What is the survival rate of the Weddell pups? Explain how living in this type of environment enables
    them to have such an unusually high success rate.



 8. The McMurdo Dry Valleys are often described as “ice deserts.” List all abiotic factors within this
    ecosystem that create such conditions.



 9. What life exists in the dry valleys?



 10. What life is found in the Antarctic plateau during the winter season? During the summer season?


Emperor Penguins
 11. What unusual behavior do Emperor penguins exhibit with their eggs?



 12. Why are the males left behind while the females return to the sea?



 13. What causes the Aurora Australis?



 14. Describe what occurs when the female penguins return at the end of winter.



 15. The Emperor penguins live a very harsh existence. Their chicks have a higher mortality rate than any
     other species of penguin. Why then, would they occupy a habitat such as this? What advantages does it
     provide?




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