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Traveling to—let alone researching—the ends of the Earth is a challenge. To galvanize scientific investigation of the still-mysterious polar regions, the International Council for Science and the World Meteorological Organization initiated International Polar Year, a massive endeavor that supports and organizes research in both the Artic and Antarctic. The “year” runs from March 2007 through March 2009, and it is the fourth effort of its kind in history.

Life persists in the extreme environments of the poles, and biologists and ecologists are eager to understand the unique adaptations necessary to live on and among ice.  To mark International Polar Year, Bio Bulletin presents recent ecological discoveries of the icy land and seas of Antarctica (part I) and the vast Arctic region (part II).