Black-and-white photo of two men in outdoor gear standing besides a large harpoon gun on a boat

The Soviet Union once hunted endangered whales to the brink of extinction — but its scientists opposed whaling and secretly tracked its toll


The Soviet Union was a latecomer to industrial whaling, but it slaughtered whales by the thousands once it started and radically under-reported its toll to international monitors.

ICARUS cosmonaut space station

New ICARUS tracking system helps scientists unlock mysteries of migration

Penguins stand on ice in Antarctica.

Emperor Penguins could march to extinction if nations fail to halt climate change

Joee Patterson is shown with her arms outstretched while wearing sunglasses and a red safety vest.

For this marine tech, Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier drives home threat of climate change

A ma in a bright orange suit holds his left arm in the air as an elephant seal opens its mouth to bellow.

These high-tech seals are charting future sea level rise

Three crew members are shown in a room with a green floor all leaning in order to stay balanced.

Antarctica Dispatch 2: Crossing the Drake Passage

The World’s Carolyn Beeler crossed the passage armed with tips on how to prevent seasickness — and about a pound of ginger — and sent back her second dispatch from the trip.

the lush Antarctic seafloor

Mapping the colorful and diverse creatures of the Antarctic seas

Hidden under the cover of sea-ice for most of the year, and living in cold water near the seafloor, are thousands of unique species. Research has generated new techniques to map where these species live, and predict how this might change in the future.

Humpback whale

The humpback whale population is recovering

Climate Change

Melting Antarctic ice has led to an abundance of krill and with all that food, humpback whales are thriving, with high rates of pregnancy. The question is: How long can this last?

Snow is blown off of the calving front off of Thurston Island in western Antarctica in this photo, taken in November 2014. New findings show the western side of Antarctica to be more vulnerable to warming oceans — and increased ice loss — than first thoug

A scientist’s response to Antarctic ice loss: ‘We can act.’

When it came to figuring how much ice loss was taking place over the last five years in Antarctica, they knew it was a bad situation — but they did not realize it was this bad.

A ship carrying tourists plies the waters off Antarctica.

Antarctica needs humans to protect it. It also needs humans to stay away. What’s a potential visitor to do?

Climate Change

Every trip to Antarctica inspires awe and concern for the fragile frozen continent. But every trip also contributes to the global warming that’s eating away at the place. So is it better to visit Antarctica, or stay away?