The icebreaker Polarstern cuts a path through the Antarctic waters in an undated photo. The research ship was one of several employed by Census of Marine Life expeditions during International Polar Year 2007-08.
During the "often perilous" journeys, some biologists endured 48-foot (16-meter) waves, while others collected specimens and data under armed guard in polar bear territory.
The scientists' efforts are helping to dispel the Poles' lifeless reputations.
"One hundred years ago Antarctic explorers like [Robert Falcon] Scott ... saw mostly ice," said Victoria Wadley, of the Australian Antarctic Division, in a statement. "In 2009 we see life everywhere."