Physiological Research at British Antarctic Survey Stations

  1. E. K. Eric Gunderson
  1. O. G. Edholm

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/AR022p0005

Human Adaptability to Antarctic Conditions

Human Adaptability to Antarctic Conditions

How to Cite

Edholm, O. G. (1974) Physiological Research at British Antarctic Survey Stations, in Human Adaptability to Antarctic Conditions (ed E. K. E. Gunderson), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/AR022p0005

Author Information

  1. Division of Human Physiology, National Institute for Medical Research, London, England

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1974

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875901213

Online ISBN: 9781118664780



  • Cold adaptation;
  • Cold—Physiological effect


Physiological research at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) stations over the past decade is reviewed. Studies of food intake, energy expenditure, and weight loss or gain have indicated that approximately 3600 kcal/day is needed at base camp to maintain body weight, whereas approximately 5000 kcal/day is needed on sledging expeditions. Measurements of energy costs were made for many representative antarctic activities; indoor tasks involved low energy expenditure (generally less than 5.0 kcal/min), whereas outdoor activities such as skiing or digging snow involved high energy expenditure (approximately 9.0–10.5 kcal/min). Although antarctic diets included a high proportion of fat, blood cholesterol was not observed to increase. Ketonuria was common, however, probably owing to high energy expenditure and a calorie deficit. Studies of peripheral blood flow indicated decreased blood flow during winter months, providing evidence for local cold acclimatization in fingers and hands. It has been demonstrated that the Antarctic provides important opportunities to study a wide range of physiological effects of an extreme environment on man and to make regular observations that would be impractical elsewhere on groups of healthy young men over extended periods of time.