Microorganisms in Antarctic Seas main content.

Let's Talk with Cornelius Sullivan about Microorganisms in Antarctic Seas

Part of Hall of Ocean Life.

Cornelius Sullivan is a biological oceanographer. He has been studying ice-covered oceans for over thirty years; his investigations focus on the bacteria and algae that live in the very cold salty water below the layers of sea ice. Cornelius was honored for his work as the Director of the Office of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation when a 100-square-kilometer stretch of the Transantarctic Mountains was named the "Sullivan Heights."

AMNH: Why should kids know about Antarctica?

Cornelius: Kids all over the world should know how the world works, because they have the privilege and responsibility of living here. Antarctica is a real place where dreams can take flight; children can think about it in imaginative and wonderful ways.

AMNH: How can students everywhere be good stewards of our least known continent?

Cornelius: Act locally and think globally. Start with yourself. What you do as an individual matters Protect that for which you are responsible. That's the best foundation for affecting things on a larger scale. Also, kids should try to understand nature. There are so many remarkable things that we need to learn about: how the human body works, how the environment, and different ecosystems work... It is unending!

Field of Study Biological oceanographer–"I'm interested in how an ocean roof of ten feet of ice influences where plants and animals live and how they make their living."

Hometown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Interests in Middle School "I was fascinated by living things. I collected all sorts of animals; snakes, turtles, possums, chipmunks. I had an aquarium as well.

Kids Two sons, thirty-one and twenty-nine; one daughter, fifteen

Number of Trips to