Lindblad Expeditions - From the National Geographic Explorer in South America -

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From the National Geographic Explorer in South America

Nov 6, 2012 - National Geographic Explorer

Amphipod and shrimp from plankton sample

Chilean Fjords

With Mount Sarmiento’s peak above the clouds we traveled through the winding fjords of Chilean Patagonia and continued our exploration of this wild region. Skyscraping mountain peaks loomed over mirror calm waters with the only disturbance being the wake of National Geographic Explorer distorting the upside down landscape.

We wound our way back into increasingly smaller fjords, each one accompanied by steep glaciers with their actively calving faces serving as the day’s highlight. It’s these glaciers, formed by snow captured and compressed along the razor-edged mountain peaks, which drive much of the productivity in these waters. Grinding and slowly pulverizing the mountains, glaciers are a main source of essential minerals for primary producers. The combination of glaciers and strong, oxygen-rich currents leads to a proliferation of microscopic life which, in turn, supports the larger, more charismatic animals we have sought on this voyage. Using a small bongo net and camera equipped with high-power magnification, we were able to observe amphipods, jellies, copepods, and even the larvae of brittle stars—all important players in this productive marine ecosystem.