Antarctica

Where can I find information about Antarctica?

Entry last updated: 18/03/19

Introduction

Antarctica is mostly a frozen continent located at the South Pole. In this article we'll look at what makes Antarctica and the animals and plants that survive there so special. We'll also look at the history of human life, from early explorers to the people who work here today and the challenges Antarctica faces from climate change.

Arctic and Antarctic

It is easy to get confused between the Arctic and the Antarctic, or Antarctica as we usually call it in New Zealand. in this section we'll look at the differences between the two continents.

Polar Discovery

This site has information about the Polar regions, the Arctic which is around the North Pole, and Antarctica around the South Pole. It also has a great section that lets you compare these two regions.

You can find which pole is home to penguins and which is home to polar bears:

  1. Select Compare the Poles tab near the top of the page.
  2. Then scroll down to the heading Plants & Wildlife.
Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .govt or .edu in their address. To assess how reliable it is, check the About us link on the website. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are .

Plant and animal life

When you think of Antarctica you might imagine lots of snow and penguins. However Antarctica is also home to lots of other wonderful animals and plants.

Wonderopolis

Created by the National Centre for Families in the America, Wonderopolis has become a popular education site for inquiry learning.

  • This site has some fun facts and short videos of Emperor penguins and chicks living in a penguin colony in the Antarctic.
Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!

A-Z Animals

A-Z of Animals was developed in 2008 as a resource for animal facts and information for all ages. All content is approved before being published.

Find pictures and facts of animals in Antarctica animals by:

  • selecting Pictures of Animals from the home page and then the tab Location
  • next scroll down the page to find Antarctica.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

ARKive

This site was put together with the help of wildlife filmmakers, photographers, conservationists and scientists. It contains more complex information about the types of plants, fish and animals that live in Antarctica.

  • To find information about the Antarctic go to Places found at the top of the page, and then select Antarctic from the Profiles list.
  • Scroll down the page to find man made and natural threats to life on this continent.
Tips: Read the glossary a the end of the page that explains meaning of some of the unfamiliar words.
You can also try using Google as a dictionary. Type the word 'define' in front of the word you want to define, then click Search- this searches for all the meanings on the web that define your word.

Climate change

Antarctica is the coldest continent on earth. In this section, we'll look at what kind of impact climate change and other pressures could have on Antarctica's amazing ecosystem.

Discovering Antarctica

This is a website run by the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Royal Geographical Society and the British Antarctic Territory (British controlled section of Antarctica).

  • MENU at the top of the page opens up to a range of information on Antarctica which includes the challenges it faces from climate change and other threats of the future.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Global Issues in Context

This is part of the EPIC databases. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.This database has facts, information, magazine and news articles about world wide issues like climate change. It has great overviews on Antarctica and climate change.

There are two ways to search Global Issues in Context.

  1. Type keywords 'Antarctica climate change' into the search box at the top of the screen.
  2. Go to Browse Issues link at the top of the page and scroll down the alphabetical list until you get to Antarctica Climate Change.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g [Antarctica]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Discovery and exploration

In this section we'll look at the early history of people in Antarctica. Who were the first people to travel or explore this region and what was it like for them?

NZHistory

NZHistory is a great website for information about Aotearoa New Zealand. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well researched and reliable.

  • Use search words like 'Antarctica exploration' to find articles and images of exploration and explorers.
  • Select Introduction to read about New Zealand's history of Antarctica and explorers like Tuati, Frank Worsley and Sir Edmund Hillary .

Antarctic Heritage Trust

This site is owned by a New Zealand Trust which looks after the expedition bases of Antarctic explorers including Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary.

  • Explore fantastic photos of the explorer's bases as they look today as well as information about the people who originally used them and their missions on the ice.
  • The link Inspiring Explorers is about historic and current explorers and their expeditions.

New Zealand Geographic Archive

Another EPIC Resource, this database has fantastic photos and articles about New Zealand history, science and geography. It includes photos and stories about the Antarctic including early Antarctic explorers.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Ownership and the Antarctic Treaty

Aotearoa New Zealand has always had a keen interest in the frozen continent. Since 1957, Scott Base on Ross Island has served as our base camp there, but we don't run Antarctica, it's governed by a special Antarctic treaty. In this section, we'll look at what countries have bases or territories in Antarctica and how the continent is ruled.

Antarctica New Zealand

This site also has information about the Antarctic Treaty and Aotearoa New Zealand's legal responsibilities on the ice. It has articles about our scientists and the work they do there to protect the environment and the Flora and fauna (plants and animals).

Department of Conservation (DOC)

The Department of Conservation (DOC for short) is the government website about preserving the natural and historical sites of New Zealand. You can see it’s a government site by looking at the About us or Contact links at the top of the page.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Books

There have been lots of books written about Antarctica. Check out your school library or local public library to see what they have.

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