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About the Antarctic Sciences Section

Section Head: Doug Kowalewski

Scientific research and the operational support of that research are the principal activities supported by the United States Government in Antarctica. The goals are

  • to expand fundamental knowledge of the region,
  • to foster research on global and regional problems of current scientific importance, and
  • to use the region as a platform from which to support research.

For projects involving fieldwork, the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) supports only that research that can be done exclusively in Antarctica or that can be done best from Antarctica.  The program also supports analytical research performed at home organizations.

The program has been in continuous operation since the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year. U.S. activities in Antarctica support the Nation's adherence to the Antarctic Treaty, which reserves the region for peaceful purposes and encourages international cooperation in scientific research. At present, 50 nations adhere to the treaty, and 28 of them are involved in antarctic field activities. The United States cooperates scientifically and operationally with many of the Antarctic Treaty nations.

The National Science Foundation funds and manages the U.S. Antarctic Program, which supports research in aeronomy and astrophysics, biology and medicine, geology and geophysics, glaciology, and ocean and climate systems.  Outreach, such as the Antarctic Artists and Writers program, and education programs are also supported.


(Related external links are available on Polar Programs Polar Links page.)

Antarctic Science Programs

Polar Programs Information

U.S. Antarctic Program

Related Polar Programs Antarctic Links

Antarctic Information Links

International Polar Year (IPY) Information (Archival Material)


At the McMurdo Station aquarium, Raytheon Polar Services employee Craig Mazur admires a large antarctic cod. The antarctic cod (Dissostichus mawsoni) are studied for their physiology, which includes antifreeze proteins, an adaptation found in a number of polar and subpolar species. (NSF/USAP photo by Melanie Connor, Raytheon Polar Services Corp.)


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