Mission Possible to Antarctica

This coming December is actually the summertime, literally, for Professor Jun Zhang since he is taking up a research expedition to Antarctica. By the end of November, Zhang will be heading to the far south for a month-long program aboard a research vessel that lands in Palmer Station in Antarctica. The research team, led by Dr. Jeannette Yen from Georgia Institute of Technology, will focus on the behaviors of marine organisms such as pteropods and krill (euphausiids) within their natural habitats.

Zhang will lead the effort to create a flow facility that includes a laminar water tunnel and a vortex-ring generator, which will be used to investigate how marine animals react to different flow conditions. To establish a flow facility is like building an exercise space for pteropods and krill, or a “treadmill” for organisms living in water. Zhang must first build a high-quality flow tunnel with minimal flow disturbances (no turbulence) before conducting extensive flow visualization studies with the rest of the team in order to decode the strategies used by marine animals when encountering open flows. Toward these goals, Zhang had started building the necessary components over three months ago, and he confirmed that he is “almost there.”

Zhang has promised to share his research experience in Antarctica with us once he returns to NYU Shanghai with photos, notes, video clips, and perhaps some samples (if permitted by regulations). Meanwhile, he would like to name his flow tunnel "NYU Antarctica One."