LARISSA is a National Science Foundation funded initiative that will bring an international, interdisciplinary team together to address a significant regional problem with global change implications, the abrupt environmental change in Antarctica's Larsen Ice Shelf System.

LARISSA brings together more than 30 scientists for one expedition, most of them based aboard the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer for two months, collecting numerous samples for oceanographic work, including deploying moorings in select locations around the Larsen Embayment to study how the ecosystem has changed since the Larsen B Ice Shelf collapsed in 2002. 

In addition to the shipboard work, two helicopters will operate off the ship, providing access to the eastern half of the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as the remaining bit of the Larsen B Ice Shelf and the glaciers that flow into it, for glaciological and geological fieldwork.

Marine & Quaternary Geosciences

(Domack, Leventer, Brachfeld, Ishman, Wellner, Balco)

Cryosphere & Oceans

(Scambos, Pettit, Truffer, Thompson & Mosley-Thompson, Gordon, Huber)

Marine Ecosystems

(Vernet, VanDover, Smith, McCormick)


About the Name


Larissa was a figure from Greek mythology, a wife of Poseidon; often pictured holding a vessel of water, the vessel having three handles. We think of the three handles as 'Ice/Climate' - 'Marine Geology' - 'Life')

LARISSA Research Highlighted in <em>Scientific American</em>
Research News

LARISSA Research Highlighted in Scientific American

Writer Douglas Fox, who accompanied the scientists on the two-month expedition in 2010, published two articles highlighting the LARISSA research. The December 2012 Nature article focused on the research of the marine ecosystem team. In the July 2012 Scientific American article, Fox described the researchers’ efforts to determine how fast the continent is melting.

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