For a few short months out of the year, some of the richest feeding grounds on Earth can be found in Antarctica.
Whales, seals, and seabirds make their way from all around the world to take advantage of the massive krill stocks that form as a result of some of the largest algal blooms in the world.
During this time, many birds mate and raise offspring, feeding their chicks on the bountiful krill and fish that can be found here each year.
Antarctica is also one of the fastest warming places on the planet, increasing by about 3˚C along the Antarctic peninsula alone within the past 60 years.
This increase in temperature has decreased the sea ice season by approximately 90 days.
In a region where the entire food chain revolves around reliable sea ice formation, 90 fewer days of sea ice could mean the difference between life and death for many organisms.
While it is as of yet uncertain what the long-term effects of human-induced Climate Change will be, one thing is certain: if we continue business as usual, the Antarctic as we know it will cease to exist.
Antarctica is unique and beautiful, and it is largely untouched by direct human influence.
More importantly, this land belongs to no country and every country, which means that positive change here is more likely to catalyze positive change around the world.
This photo series is meant to draw attention to the beauty and importance of Antarctica, from the animals to the landscape to the whole planet. The ultimate wilderness and the last continent can’t survive unless we fight the change we have wrought on our planet’s climate.
Drew Spacht has been practicing photography for just over a year, initially getting his start while on a research expedition to Antarctica. Since then, he has become completely enthralled by the art of capturing moments. He is particularly interested in landscape and wildlife photography, and he would ultimately like to pursue a career as a photographer with National Geographic. Educating people about the spectacular wildlife and locations we have on this planet is of the utmost importance to Drew, and his deep love for the 7th continent and this planet has driven his pursuit of photography as a career.
Drew has had images featured in the Columbus Dispatch, the Columbus Museum of Art’s website, The Editor’s Spotlight section of the National Geographic Yourshot Community, and the Alumni magazine of his alma mater, Mercyhurst University. When not in Antarctica, Drew is based out of Columbus, Ohio.
Find Drew on Instagram (@spachtenator) and his website for images of Antarctica and beyond.