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Images: Life in the Arctic Ocean

In October of 1997, pastel Arctic sky illuminates the tiny, isolated town composed of the Canadian icebreaker Des Groseilliers, frozen into the ice for the year, and outlying laboratory structures. Inset: Drifting within the ice, the ship traveled over 1,739 miles (2,800 kilometers) during the year. (Courtesy of SHEBA Project Office) (SHEBA Project Office.)

Drifting within the ice, the ship traveled over 1,739 miles (2,800 kilometers) during the year.

The four major species of copepods in the Beaufort Sea all have different sizes, different life cycles, and different prey. L to R: Metridia longa (~2.5 millimeters), Calanus glacialis (~4mm), Calanus hyperboreus (~7mm). The smallest, Oithona similis (0.5mm) is below the center. The largest species, Calanus hyperboreus, is a critical link in the Arctic food web, eating phytoplankton and microzooplankton when the returning spring light triggers their growth. They are eaten in turn by many larger animals. (Photo by Carin Ashjian, WHOI) (Carin Ashjian, WHOI.)

A view from the ship Des Grosielliers during Arctic spring, showing the blue biology lab (?Blue Bio?). The long straight line is a newly opened crack, or lead, in the melting ice, coated with a skin of freshly frozen ice. (Photo by Carin Ashjian, WHOI) (Carin Ashjian, WHOI. )

Twin plankton nets, called 'bongo nets', hanging over the side of the ship. The nets are towed through the water to capture copepods, which are counted to track their abundance over a yearly cycle. (Courtesy of Carin Ashjian, WHOI)
(Courtesy of Carin Ashjian, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)