Australia is the world's smallest continent and due to its isolation it has developed a diverse population of unique and endemic plants, animals and insects. Australia is also home to the Great Barrier Reef the world's longest and largest coral reef system. The reef is composed of over 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 1,400 miles and encompassing over 133,000 square miles of territory and is home to more than 3000 species of marine life. The reef system is so vast that astronauts orbiting the earth are able to observe it from space. Australia also has a diverse landscape consisting of rainforests in the northeast, mountain ranges in the southeast, southwest and the eastern part of the continent with dry deserts in the center. Much of Australia's ecology and species are being threatened by human activities including the introduction of non-native animal and plant species.
This expedition will be an opportunity for students to participate with local scientists in their efforts in finding ways to preserve the Great Barrier Reef from the effects of global warming. We will visit two scientists on a remote Australian Island that think they have the answer to saving the reef. We will also investigate the lands and waterways of the interior that house some of the most unique flora and fauna found on Earth and find out how scientists are working to preserve the wildlife and ecosystems that are Australia.
Ahoy! Join Us On This Expedition of Adventure and Discovery In The Land Down Under
Antarctica is the fifth largest continent in the world. It is the most desolate, coldest, windiest, and driest place on Earth. It has little annual rainfall making it a virtual desert. Antarctica contains 90% of all of the ice on the planet. Geographically it is located in the southern part of the globe. Vegetation on the continent is composed of mosses, lichen, and algae, there are no trees or bushes. Animal life is represented by Penguins, Whales, Seals, Fishes and Krill. The Emperor Penguin is the only permanent warm-blooded resident on the continent. There are no indigenous people. Human habitation only exists at science research stations.
This expedition will join scientists as they investigate the effects of global warming, how nature survives in the most inhospitable place on Earth, look into the ways scientists are utilizing the local fauna to benefit humankind, go under the ice, explore the stars and learn how the study of glaciology helps to predict world health.
Ahoy! Bundle Up and Join Us On This Expedition of Discovery At The Bottom of The World
Madagascar is an Island located off the southeast coast of Africa. It was separated millions of years ago from Africa when the supercontinent Gondwana broke apart. This isolation created an environment whereby, 90% of all plant, insect and animal species are endemic. Many of the native plant species are currently used for herbal medicines that are used to cure a variety of humankind's afflictions. The drugs vinblastine and vincristine used to treat Hodgkin's disease, leukemia and other cancers, are derived from a plant called the Madagascar periwinkle. Coelacanths, a fish species, that was thought to have gone extinct in the Late Cretaceous (66 million years ago), was rediscovered in 1938 near Madagascar. Coelacanths are the oldest known living species. They resemble lobe-finned fishes and tetrapod's more than they do ray-finned fishes which means they are more related to lungfishes, reptiles and mammals.
This expedition will work with local scientists as they study how species diversification occurs in isolation, uncover new plants, insects and animals and go beneath the waves to explore the reefs and aquatic life.
Ahoy! Join Us On This Expedition of Discovery Back In Time
Hawaiian Islands Expedition
Hawaii is located 2,000 miles southwest of the continental United States. The island chain was formed by volcanic activity from an undersea magma source known as the Hawaiian Hot Spot. The process continues to build new islands today. There are eight main islands and a number of smaller islands and islets. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia. Hawaii was first settled by Polynesians sailing from other Pacific islands between 300 and 600 A.D. Due to the distance and isolation from other lands, life is thought to have arrived in Hawaii by the winds, ocean currents, birds, insects, and by Polynesian sailors. This isolation, in combination with the diverse environment, produced an array of endemic flora and fauna. Because of the isolation, volcanic activity and unique species, the Island chain is a popular destination for biologists, and volcanologists. Hawaii is also well known for its environmental diversity. The climate around the coasts can range from dry tropical, to wet tropical. On the mountain slopes, environments range from tropical rainforest to alpine conditions.
This expedition will explore the Hawaiian Rainforests and Reefs and examine the many endemic species that have adapted to the Hawaiian way of life.
Ahoy! Join Us On This Expedition of Discovery In America's Island State