Food in the Field: a Nutritional Analysis of New Zealand's Antarctic Field Rations.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
The area of field nutrition in Antarctica has undergone extensive development during the course of Antarctic exploration and has been the focus of many studies by nutritionists and physiologists looking to understand the dietary requirements of personnel working in Antarctic conditions. Early expeditions led by Scott, Shackleton and Mawson drew attention to the harsh realities of living in Antarctica for extended periods and many of these men suffered from diet-related problems, compounded by stresses already being experienced in conditions of extreme cold and physical exhaustion (Taylor 1992). Dietary shortfalls in energy intake and vitamins were common in many early field parties, which affected the health of expedition members such as Lieutenant Evans who died of scurvy on Scott’s 1910 Expedition (Cherry-Garrard 1951). A sledging expedition led by Sir Douglas Mawson at the same time as Captain Scott’s fateful return from the pole experienced dietary problems of a different nature, when Mawson and his companion Mertz were forced to eat their dogs. They were afflicted by hypervitaminosis-A, a type of vitamin toxicity resulting from the consumption of large amounts of vitamin A from the livers of the huskies (Shearman 1978). This condition eventually killed Mertz, and Mawson was lucky to survive (Shearman 1978).