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A Growing Concern
Photograph by Peter Essick

Botanist Tad Day is seeing green. He's documenting the spread of the only two species of flowering plants known to grow in Antarctica: the antarctic hair grass and the antarctic pearlwort. At this offshore site on Anvers Island near Palmer Station, neither plant was detected in 1995. By 1999, 23 pearlworts and 94 hair grasses had appeared; this year Day tallied 294 pearlworts and 5,129 hair grasses. Warmer temperatures, he reasons, promote vegetative growth, cause larger percentages of seeds to germinate, and force glacial ice to recede, exposing more terrain for plants.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon EOS 1V
Film Type: Fujichrome Provia 100
Lens: 17-35mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/125 @ f/11
Weather Conditions: Sunny
Time of Day: Morning
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


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