Physiological Research at U.S. Stations in Antarctica

  1. E. K. Eric Gunderson
  1. Jay T. Shurley

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/AR022p0071

Human Adaptability to Antarctic Conditions

Human Adaptability to Antarctic Conditions

How to Cite

Shurley, J. T. (1974) Physiological Research at U.S. Stations in Antarctica, in Human Adaptability to Antarctic Conditions (ed E. K. E. Gunderson), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/AR022p0071

Author Information

  1. Behavioral Sciences Laboratories, Veterans Administration Hospital, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104, and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University Of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73190

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


The biomedical and physiological research at U.S. antarctic stations published since the International Geophysical Year in 1956 is reviewed and summarized. Some previously unpublished data gathered by J.T. Shurley et al. from the Oklahoma sleep project (1966–1971) are included. Reports from this project form the bulk of the article. Detailed descriptions of the macroenvironment (South Polar Plateau) and the microenvironment (South Pole station) relevant to biology and medicine are given, together with a brief description of the study population (South Pole station personnel) for the 1967 and the 1968 austral winters. Findings of the core project on the psychophysiology of sleep and dreaming, EEG's under photic stimulation, sleep and activity patterns, the hematological and cardiopulmonary survey (documenting the hypoxic stress), erythropoietin level measurements in blood and urine, the acute effects of hypoxia on sleep psychophysiology, and the neutropenic response of station personnel to prolonged isolation at Plateau station (United States) are reviewed in detail. A summary statement of the individual clinical response to the antarctic wintering experience concludes that modern, sophisticated methods of biomedical research are now feasible and that their application to the many problems of human adaptation to the harsh antarctic envionment portends a rich reward of increased knowledge of the ecology of the human species.