Thursday, 15 November 2012

SIPEX-II Update, from 15 Nov

Last post from aboard the Aurora Australis as Molly, Jess, Rob and Sarah wrap up their time as part of SIPEX 2012.
15th Nov

We finally got out of the pack ice on 11th Nov, and suddenly started moving really fast towards Northeast. The entire day traveling in the MIZ, the scene outside was splendid. There were still plenty of ice floes with thick snow on it, but the blue ocean was everywhere to see. Plenty of sea birds (mainly snow petrol and giant petrol) were flying and sliding behind the heli-deck. People were all out with their fancy camera lenses to capture some real photos of those lightning-speed birds. We had an outdoor BBQ on the trawl deck under the last late-night sunshine to celebrate the joy to return home.

I start to grow into deep sadness when the sun sank into the skyline at 11pm. This will be last sunset we see beyond 60oS. We have been travelling with 16knots the entire day and night, and when midnight passed, all the ice disappeared in our sight, only left the wild ocean with swell and waves.

Last night was the Aurora night. Barry, our rocket scientist, has his contact based in Hobart to pass the information to predict Aurora. About 10pm, anyone still awake stood under the sky and looked up. There were still clouds gathering around, so at the beginning we couldn’t really tell if the light bits were only the sky or the real aurora. The real aurora does not appear as bright green as we normally see on the picture. After about half an hour, the sky started become unbelievable and incredible. I have never seen something like this. The pale green light appeared on the sky with a rhythm. It was like the wave washing the black sandy beach and left all the patterns on it. Sometimes it was more like a painter spread out all the watercolour paints randomly to the black paper. And the next moment everything was suddenly washed out. What happened on the sky was not really describable by words. I was just standing there and gazing the sky for more than half an hour. The only words came out was “WOW….”

We will arrive Hobart tomorrow.  There are still so many stories need to tell. Although we have only been on the ship for two months, I had the feeling it’s been a year. All the people on board appear to me as a big family. Our science group is a mix of experienced scientists, engineers, early scientists and students. It is fascinating for me to meet all these awesome people with passionate of their work. They are also incredible professional.

The best part is all the science nerds at the same time maintain a high level skill on something else. Ted, Peter and Polly are crazy Scrabble/bananagrams machines with words come out their brain every second. Jono and Peter are fantastic guitar players, who usually play as our bed-song singer and after-dinner entertainment. There are more than one great photographers who capture all the amazing scenes along the way. Ernesto and Maria are good Ping-Pong players. We also have Anne-Julie as our Belgian-French painter who is able to make very fine oil painting.

This will be last post for us from the Aurora Australis. The Aurora email system will be shut down as soon as we reach the port tomorrow. APECS-Oceania will follow up some great photos and videos and some post-voyage stories soon afterwards.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

SIPEX-II Update, from Oct 8

8th Oct
Stn 4
Position: 65o 08 S, 121o 01 E
Wind: 15 knots
Temperature: -15oC
Another nice and warm day on the ice, work goes along as usual. All
the groups are busy occupied with measurements. This site is full of
biological activity. At the back of our ship, in the small open water
area, looks like a temporal penguin paradise. Five emperor penguins
were swimming, diving, and hanging around there for the whole day.
They usually dived from the same spot together and stayed in the
water for couple minutes; then they suddenly appeared on the surface
and chirped to each other for a while, then dived in again.
Frequently they jumped on to the ice and walked all the way to the
scientists to peep what we are doing. We had penguins around us the
entire day. 
[Emperor swim] 
Dinner on the ship at 6pm, suddenly someone spotted a black line was
passing by about couple hundreds meters away from the port side of
the ship. We all rushed out and saw a magnificent march of Adelie
[Adelie march]
Personally I am more excited to see Adelies than elegant Emperors.
Adelie are hilarious animals to watch. They walk like they are going to fall
down at the next moment. With their wings open up behind them like a
cape, they rush around with short legs until falling on the ground,
then they start to slide on their tummy with legs and wings. Those
who have seen “Frozen Planet” from BBC, you must remember the amusing
scene when one Adelie tries to steal stones from another one when the
hard-working one is building his love nest to attract females.    
[Adelie single] 

SIPEX-II Update, from Oct 6

6th Oct, 
Position: 65o 06 S, 121o 21 E
Wind: mild
Temperature: -15oC
Muster on the heli deck
We have an emergency training every week, or every time when we leave
a station. When the ship starts to ring the emergency signal,
everyone responses properly to dress up with warm clothes and life
jacket, bring the red survival bag and get on to the heli deck. 
The first time was really exciting. It was back to 12 days ago before
we got to any ice stations. First time to try all the gears on and
the air was getting to the point of frozen. In addition, we had a bit
snow on the deck to make a snow fight.  
But after 3 or 4 times, to fully dress up for half an hour and change
back to summer clothes is not that exciting anymore. The bonus to
standing in the chill wind was, we could see all sorts of creatures.
So far, we saw a crabeater seal right behind the ship, then a penguin
family with 5 or 6 members, and some snow petrels, and some more
penguins, and surely, some amazing sea ice. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

SIPEX-II Update, from 3 Oct - 4 Oct

A good wrap up of some fieldwork in this update!
3rd Oct, Day nineteen 
and 4th Oct, Day twenty
POSITION: 64o 52 S, 120o 58 E
Wind: mild
Temperature: -15oC
Station 3! Yeay!
Helicopter out, and they brought back news for three possible ice
floes for a good ice station. We approached to the 1st one, and broke
it when we tried to moor the ship.
Later afternoon, we finally arrived at our Ice Station 3! Horray! 
We were all really happy that we could finally go out for a walk or
do a bit work. Especially when the weather was really gentle to us,
nice sunshine, almost no wind, and it’s really warm, only -15oC. 
We plan to stay in this ice floe for today and tomorrow only, so all
groups rushed out for work as soon after all the flags out. 
Our on-board engineers repaired krill pump for us. They are AWESOME!
More like magicians to me, I would like to call them men of
“everything is possible” (we would have a story for them shortly). We
set on a spot very close to the ship (about 10m away). Then everyone
discovered the difficulties on this ice floe. It is really THICK!
This ice floe has a heavy snow cover with an average of 1m.
Underneath, the ice all packed and rafted, with an average thickness
of 1.5m. 
The trace-metal team had a lot of troubles on this station. They
needed to walk a long way to their site with all the heavy gears, the
corers, and the survival bag. On the morning of 4th Oct, they walked
all the way to the site, dug through one-meter snow, and finally saw
the sea ice. But when they start coring, the ice core frozen inside
the corer, and they had to march back to the ship, use milli-Q water
(get it down dripping down from the milli-Q machine, take a long time
to get one bucket) to clean the gear to get the ice out. And this
happened TWICE in one day! In the dinner everyone from trace-metal
looked exhausted and frustrated. Thanks to Klaus, our chief
scientist, trace-metal team started their journey AGAIN after dinner
under Klaus’s company, and finally successfully got samples back
before the sunset.  
Time to talk about our 2nd krill pump. The giant monster flew from
the States, and was originally designed for fish farms. Now we
modified some parts of it and use it to pump krill from the water. It
sits in a blue container and pumps with long pipes. Each pipe needs 7
people to carry. Each time to set it up involves efforts from many
[krill pump operation 1 & 2]
Unfortunately, all the ice cores we are taking were crystal clear,
did not show much biological accumulation. Also because it is so hard
to cut a hole on the ice, we started to put our net down from “trawl
deck”, the back of the ship where we deploy all the big instruments,
like AUV, CTD, TMR etc. 
[Patti taking net samples]

SIPEX-II Update, from 30 Sept - 2 Oct

Some long awaited news from Molly, still on board the Aurora Australis with Rob, Jess, and Sarah..
30th Sep, Day sixteen
1st Oct, Day seventeen
2nd Oct, Day eighteen
It’s remote, wild and cold down here. All sorts of problems appeared
on the ship. The equipment failed because of low temperature;
helicopter couldn’t fly due to the bad weather; we can’t break the
thick ice since the ship engine has tiny troubles to start etc. 
When come down to 64oS, the most common thing happening to us is
stuck in the ice, or just hanging around without spotting a good
location to settle down. 
It’s been three days since we departed from the last station. Our
plan was to find the 3rd station yesterday morning, but it’s
afternoon today, we still not sure what will happen in the next 24h. 
Everyone grew a bit grumpy when there is not much to do. We finished
all the sample analyses, well prepared to be going out anytime.
Meanwhile, we almost played all the games we could play. 
Our assassin game already came to the end. Since I was killed by my
mate 5 minutes after the game started, I completely dropped my
interest for this game!
We have a new table-tennis competition started from a week ago. I was
really amazed how good-skilled people are! Although a Chinese I am,
I’m suck of table tennis. I played more ping-pong game on this ship
than altogether in my life. 
Talking about games on board. We have a full collection of board
games, including all board games you can think about. Chess,
Monopoly, Domino, Spicks & Specks, Cluedo, Pictionary, Ticket to
ride, Sorry! (The game of sweet revenge), Scrabble, and the cute
version of Scrabble – Bananagrams, etc. Apparently now, Bananagrams
became the most popular game between the dining room and the library.
Consequently, the dictionary became one of the most popular books
Also, our sweet social committee came up many brilliant ideas to
amuse everybody. Jess, one of our APECS member, with Hugo (our
brilliant British mood-maker) started a series of games for every
second night. The game named Winner-Winner-Chicken-Dinner. Jess will
write something really fun about Winner-Winner soon. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

SIPEX-II Update, from 27 September

Molly has supplied some more stories from the SIPEX-II voyage. As you can imagine it's a very busy period (hence the delay in receiving these) but the updates are worth the wait!  Due to data limits on messages from the Aurora Australis, photos follow separately.  So we'll get them posted once they're received.
27th Sep, Day Thirteen
Wind: 0.2 knots
Air temperature: -15

First successful ice station! (or the 2nd official ice station)

After one day drifting from the last ice floe, we finally settled
down on another good size, good condition ice floe. The Stationing

Followed by the safety check by Klaus and Psycho, all groups with all the fancy equipment set feet on the ice. It is very interesting to see, within this small area with a thickness of 35cm wind pack snow covering on 100cm thick sea ice, scientists on board found all their interest from different perspectives.

The 35cm snow served physicist for their research interest on snow
thickness, snow density, albedo of snow, and carbon evidence of
atmospheric pollution within the snow, and the snow-wind interaction. The sea ice underneath was more interested by biologists. (Exception: One group of physic statists are interested how fast brine comes into ice) Lots of ice core taking, accompanied with incubation of sea ice community. The sea ice biologists/ecologists are trying to find out how the sea ice structure, and how this structure related to the biology community living in the sea ice.

[picture: taking ice core]

There is also a trace-metal team focusing on the trace metal in the
snow and sea ice. They need to travel a long distance to be far away
from everyone to avoid contamination. We will leave their story until next time.

Water column is interested by a mixed group of biologists (I’m one of them) and physicist. We have two expensive fancy “toys” on board to investigate what the underwater world looks like beneath the sea ice.  They are ROV, Remotely Operated Vehicle, and AUV, Automotive
Underwater Vehicle. These two vehicles travelled around under the
ice, and brought back high-resolution images and videos of the world
hiding underneath our feet. Sure they are scientific equipment more
than just an under-water camera; please move to Wendy’s blog to read
more about their science objective.

We biologists are planning to discover how the under-ice community
structured and how it works. All those amazing creatures we could
see, like whales, seals, penguins and fish, are living on the tiny
plankton in this ecosystem. It is another amazing world in the
plankton community. Please be patient for some great photos of the
plankton world coming soon. Today we are going to focus on people on
the ice.

[picture: tripod]

We dig holes on the ice, and put equipment, nets and pumps under
water in hope to grab as much information as we can from the water.
Three of our zooplankton and phytoplankton boys set up a 3m tripod on the ice for deployment. We also have two pumps, one flied from
Germany and one from U.S., specially designed for krill pumping. The
pump from U.S. was purchased by Australian Antarctic Division and
most of the setting up was designed by Rob King, our great brilliant
krill biologist.

Krill pump explosion

[picture: krill pump]

The reality crashes into our brilliant plan, as the old saying. We
found a really nice spot for krill pumping. It took us more than half an hour to set up everything. The German pump started pumping with all of our hope. Half way through, we stopped the pump to check what we got, and 5 min later, started again, and suddenly it EXPLODED!!!!

The seawater froze in the pipe and stuck, and the pump vacuumed all
the air from the little chamber, and this is the reason for the
little explosion.

Luckily no one hurt, but pumping for today became impossible. The
krill group is facing some unhappy situation.

More information about SIPEX-II is available through the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre website.

And the blog of Dr Wendy Pyper, science reporter for the Australian Antarctic Division, who is covering the expedition.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Antarctica New Zealand Conference Report

Sira Engelbertz and Lorna Little have provided the following report and photos of APECS Oceania activities at this year's Antarctica New Zealand Conference.  Thank you both for your work organising, and also to all others who made the event the success it was.


APECS Oceania @ 2012 Antarctica New Zealand Conference, 4-5 October, Christchurch:

APECS workshops at the annual New Zealand Antarctic Conference have become an integral part of this conference’s program over the past years. This year APECS Oceania (formed in May 2012) organised a session for this conference. Instead of the usual workshop or panel discussion, as has happened in previous years, APECS Oceania tried something new this time: Speed-Meet-A-Geek, a speed networking game.

The rules were simple. First, quickly find someone in the group to talk to. Then, you get three minutes to exchange information about yourself, your research, your further interests, etc. When the time is up, you move on to another person in the group and talk to him or her for another 3 minutes, and so on. BUT, to make it a little more challenging, participants also had to find a matching pair of Flakes, Blobs and Bubbles!

The Flakes, Blobs and Bubbles were taken from an art project and education & outreach flagship activity for the Fall 2012 International Polar Week. Pairs of images of flakes, blobs or bubbles – all drawn by kids at IceFest, the New Zealand Antarctic festival in Christchurch – had been handed out to participants at the beginning of the session. The task was to find the person with the matching image while networking at speed.

There were fantastic prizes for the first three matching pairs, kindly sponsored by COMNAP (Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs).All participants received a free drink, generously provided by Antarctica New Zealand. To make a long story short, there were many reasons to be part of Speed-Meet-A-Geek and none not to! Over 40 conference attendees (out of around 80) including students, early career scientists, mentors, APECS members and non-members (but potentially future members…) made Speed-Meet-A-Geek at the 2012 Antarctica New Zealand Conference a great success!

Apart from the Speed-Meet-A-Geek event, APECS Oceania presented also its poster to introduce the new joint Australian and New Zealand branch of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists.

Special thanks to: Ed Butler, Michelle Rogan-Finnemore, and Heidi Roop for all their help leading up to the event, Melissa Idiens for helping run the session, Igloo Bar for hosting APECS Oceania Speed Meet A Geek, and all conference attendees participating in the game!

Monday, 1 October 2012

SIPEX-II Update, from 25 September

More stories of adventure in the Southern Ocean!  Stay tuned for photos.

You can check out views from the Aurora Australis webcam via the AAD website.
Images are updated every 30 minutes.

25th Sep, Day Eleven
Wind: 0.4 knots
Air temperature -11oC
As you can see, the weather was mild, we had a beautiful sunny day,
weak wind and super warm, and we found our first ice station. 
First ice station, two emperor penguins (“empire penguins” in the
Chinese translation!) in the morning, following by another bunch of
ten on the big ice floe, which the ship sat next to for a while. Late
morning, found a big chunk of ice that seemed pretty stable and safe,
Klaus and Psycho (our field training officer) went exploring for the
whole group. Apart from Psycho fell into a small hole and thick snow
ranged between 30-120cm, the ice condition seems very stable. In the
afternoon around tea time, people started to get on the ice for a bit
of work. We had intended to make our very first stop for the next
Penguin attack! 
Krill group went out to explore a nice place that might be a shelter
for the larval krill we are looking for. About 50m from the edge of
the ice, we found this big ridge sitting on the ice. This is possibly
a perfect location for us to capture some krill underneath. A group
of emperor penguins came over to spy on us, the aliens coming with
the huge orange boat. It was an absolutely amazing experience to find
out we were surrounded by penguins in the next 10 minutes.  They were
so close that we even could clearly see the tiny black eyes, the pink
orange-ish beak, and the little water drops resisting on their
oil-coat feathers. Their white belly looks golden and shiny with the
reflection of sunshine. It is really interesting how they fall down
on their belly and slide on the ice with feet and flippers. When
standing up, they need help from the beak and the flippers. “They are
the most interesting animal I have ever seen” – quoted from R King.

An incident   
When one group was on the ice planning deploy their instrument, there
was a swell right between them and the ship. According to witness, the ice moved like a wave and lifted almost one meter.
According to witness No.two, he felt the ice moving up and down under
his feet. Soon after all these signs, a huge crack appeared in the
middle of the ice floe, and separated the snow team and the rest of
the people on the ice. Our rescue team, crew, and all the other
people worked together nicely and brought all people and instruments
back safely. However, we decided to move on after the incident, to
find a new floe to settle down.
Read more great articles about the expedition and research projects via Dr Wendy Pyper's blog.
Follow the links on the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre website. 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Who's Who: APECS Oceania Expeditioner Research Profiles

A special thank you to AAD science reporter Dr Wendy Pyper who is covering the SIPEX II voyage.  In her latest blog entries she gives some insight into the research of APECS Oceania members currently journeying across the Southern Ocean aboard the Aurora Australis.

Follow the link to her blog and learn more about the projects of Post Doc researcher Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas, plus PhD students Molly Jia, Rob Johnson and Sarah Ugalde.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

SIPEX-II Update, from 22 September 2012

We've received the latest news from Molly aboard the Aurora Australis! For those keen to keep extra tabs on the ship's journey - and you have an iPhone or iPad - head on over to the App Store and search 'Antarctic Voyages'.

The free app provides a track of the ship along with a new webcam from the bridge every half hour.  You'll also be able to view daily sitreps and the information from fixed sensors that gives the underway data sets.  All information comes from the Australian Antarctic Division.

22nd Sep, Day Eight
We are crossing the line!! 60 degrees SOUTH!
Day eight is a big day, since it’s the crossing-line day and
Saturday. We are having so much exciting stuff happening in one day.
Event one – the 60-degrees baptism! As part of cultural tradition on
the Aurora, when the ship crosses the 60-degree-south line, all the
freshmen are demanded to attend a special baptism as a ceremony. As
the famous ancient saying about Southern Ocean - “No laws below 50S.
No police below 60S.” reveals, the sea gets severely angry when the
sailors cross certain lines. In old times, it must have been a huge
thing for the crews travelling with wooden boats to survive after a
long voyage. Anyway, it’s not the case in a modern voyage. Until
today, we are all surviving really well with the amazing buffet and
facilities on the Aurora. 
Our wonderful and incredible crew have new ideas every voyage to
“torture” the new recruits for an afternoon-tea entertainment for the
entire ship. This year, the ceremony involved worshipping the blue
pirate king and his colourful fellows. Names were announced by the
Death, we then knelt down and kissed the king’s foot, drank some
special blue beverage, kissed the king’s fellow - a blue giant fish,
and last, were showered with a yellowish porridge-like mixture with
unknown ingredients (somehow it had a strong coffee and chickpea

Event two – Assassins
To celebrate the “Law-free” zone, we started a killing game, the aim
is to kill all your shipmates and stay alive alone.
Rules of Assassins
You don’t talk about Assassins.
You don’t talk about Assassins. 
You DO NOT talk about Assassins! 
Very simple, put your name in a bag, and pick a name from there, and
“kill” the person on the ship by saying “bang you’re dead” (anywhere
apart from his/her working place or cabin).
Event three – First beer on the ship
Since the Aurora is now a “dry ship”, we can only have limited
alcohol on special occasions. Today as we reached the special
latitude, it was a good excuse to have one or two beers to celebrate
with some very nice Italian food, good pizza and Tiramisu for
Event Four – First Iceberg
As part of the social committee on board, Jess MT started an Iceberg
sweep – to guess what day and what time we will pass by our first
iceberg. The rules are very strict. We have the ship radar to
identify the iceberg and to time the occasion when we pass by it at
90 degrees from the boat’s direction. It happened tonight! 18:45, we
sighted our first iceberg on the port side of the boat, about 4 miles
away. A nice small berg with two peaks. Murray Dovey (Ship master)
defeated Klaus (our chief scientist) by 15 mins to take out the
sweep. Klaus was even thinking to stop the ship to win the game ?   
Stay tuned for photos!
Don't forget to check out the official SIPEX-II website from Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems 
Cooperative Research Centre and the blog of Dr Wendy Pyper from the AAD. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

SIPEX II Update 14-17 September 2012

The first update from Sea Ice Physics Ecosystem eXperiment (SIPEX II) has
arrived from the APECS Oceania members taking part.

64 scientists and researchers are taking part in this year's voyage, the follow up to the first SIPEX expedition in 2007.  The expedition members represent France, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Canada and the United States of America.  Research projects cover various fields including atmospheric science, sea ice physics, ecology, trace metal chemistry, biology and biogeochemistry.

SIPEX Diary:

At 10pm on the 14th of September, after hugging, photographing, and waving
handkerchiefs to families and friends on the wharf for almost one hour, we finally made our departure with the orange Australian icebreaker – the Aurora Australis.

We had a busy day to run around, drop our bags, drink our last beer(s) before departure, and kiss everyone goodbye. Hobart is very pretty in the night with scattered lights all over the mountains.

16th September, Day Two

Woke up at 4.30 for a wee sky watching with our American atmosphere scientist – Steve (apparently also a fine astrologist), then followed with a gym session (yes, we have a gym on board!!).

The 2nd day on the Aurora Australis, we are still hanging around in southern Tassie waters, to enjoy the last bit of warm sunshine and the calm ocean, play music and yoga-stretching on the heli-deck while waiting for tests for all the instruments before we really start our journey heading South.

It seems we have a tiny folk-band on board. Guitars + ukulele + harmonica + mandolin + “mouth harp” (Ginbarde in French and it’s probably better to keep it in French) + "sansi" (an African instrument), a SIPEX theme song is highly possible at the end of two months!

17th September, Day Three
We are OFF!!
Inductions start

All the tests were going well, and we officially start heading South!! Yeaaah!

The boat is busy filled with all different briefings and inductions basically for everything. Every single little thing happening on the ship needs a proper instruction Induction for using the life-jacket, induction for going to the galley, induction for access to certain parts of the boat, induction for working in the lab, induction for working on the ice (as girls, we also had a tiny induction about how to pee on the ice…keep practising in your shower before really use it!) etc.

As part of everyone's gear, the simple water bottle we got also has complete instructions printed on it, very thoughtful for geeks and nerds who cannot use a plastic bottle properly ?
Hydrate or die!

1. Hold the bottle;
2. Unscrew the lid;
3. Place bottle under tap;
4. Fill bottle;
5. Drink contents;
6. Refill bottle;
7. Repeat above steps throughout the day x 4

Do you ever know you need repeat drinking four times a day to keep hydrated?

Btw, our DVD library (the ex-on-board-BAR) is open! It’s very entertaining to see piles of DVD boxes sitting behind a bar instead of all the glasses and real alcohol.

Also check out the blog of Dr Wendy Pyper, science reporter at the Australian Antarctic Division, as she covers SIPEX-II aboard the Aurora Australis.

The Science of Sea Ice

The Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystem eXperiment II (SIPEX-II) is underway in the Southern Ocean, and APECS Oceania is represented aboard the Australian Antarctic Division's research vessel.

Molly Jia (UTAS), Rob Johnson (UTAS), Jessica Melbourne-Thomas (UTAS), and Sarah Ugalde (UTAS) are taking part in the voyage this year.

Stay tuned to this blog and our Facebook page for their reports on the research activities and life at sea.

You can also follow Australian Antarctic Division science reporter Dr Wendy Pyper through her blog on the AAD website:

The SIPEX website through the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC has a wealth of information relating to the 2007 SIPEX voyage.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Speed Meet-a-Geek at Antarctica New Zealand

APECS Oceania is organising a networking event for participants at the Antarctica New Zealand conference running 4 & 5 October 2012 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

If you are attending the conference and keen to meet the wider APECS community, be sure to take part in this event!  Accept the challenge of describing your research in 3 minutes to a fellow scientist then listen to their own 3 minute summary.

Title: Speed Meet-a-Geek
When: 5:05PM, 4 October 2012
Where: Igloo Bar, Hagley Park, Christchurch (city centre), New Zealand

location map and venue details:

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Polar News

UNH Researcher Aids Terra Nova Shipwreck Discovery
09 September 2012
from, underwater tech and ocean science news

Deep Sea Lighthouse Lure Antarctic Krill
10 September 2012
from the Australian Antarctic Division


Icelandic president discusses China-Iceland relations at Arctic summit
11 September 2012
from Public Radio International


Sea Shepherd's new campaign underway
11 September 2012
from The West Australian

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Call for Submissions - The Places We've Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35

Publication opportunity for graduate students and young professionals
Deadline for Submissions: 15 October 2012

Asha Veal Brisbois, editor at The Places We've Been, is seeking submissions from under 35s working in polar regions either as graduates or early career professionals for a new independent publication, The Places We've Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35.

See below for project information and links.



The Places We've Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35 is looking for nonfiction narratives that challenge conventional tourism. Our summary line goes as such:

From West Africa to Vietnam, Tokyo to Paris, the book's focus is to show the distinctive niche of travel experiences that defines our wide peer group, and how we've learned to engage the global community of an increasingly small world.

More information on the project is linked here:

Full Submissions Call:

"This is all very intriguing," you may by now be thinking (we hope!). "But who are you?"
Operating since 2012, The Places We've Been, LLC, is an independent publisher, dedicated to literary portrayals of the diverse experiences of human existence. The Places We've Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35 is our inaugural project-and namesake.

The purpose of The Places We've Been is to work with varied and ambitious new writers to develop and then publish, promote, and distribute unique work. Specific areas of interest are literary fiction and nonfiction, with four books set for release in 2013. In June, The Places We've Been was noted as a "fresh local startup" in Crain's Chicago Business:

Please feel free to be in touch with any questions or for more information.
asha veal brisebois
publisher at The Places We've Been, LLC
wk 312.376.8276

Free Public Forum - "Politics at the End of the World: a public forum on the future of Antarctica"

Title: Politics at the End of the World: a public forum on the future of Antarctica
Date: Thursday, 13 September 2012, 6:00PM-7:30PM
Venue: General Lecture Theatre, The Quadrangle, University of Sydney

*** Free event, however registration is required.  Please visit the university website to access the registration link and for venue location details. 

Monday, 3 September 2012

Job Opportunity - Trust Secretary, Antarctic Heritage Trust, Canterbury

APECS Oceania has been alerted to the following professional opportunity.

Title: Trust Secretary, Antarctic Heritage Trust
Location: Canterbury, New Zealand
Application Deadline: Monday, 10 September 2012

For position details and application information:

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Polar News through the Week

Arctic Risk Management Study Released by DNV & FNI

A new study about crucial risk management issues relating to Arctic operations is released by DNV and the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI).

Denmark's Claim to Arctic Continental Shelf a Step Forward

Scientists aboard Swedish icebreaker 'Oden' prepare Danish claims as they reach the North Pole.

China's space research in Antarctica

Arctic Greenpeace Activists Board Drilling Platform

Greenpeace personnel board Russia's Gazprom Prirazlomnaya platform in the Pechora Sea. 

Fort Story Soldiers Build Floating Causeway at McMurdo 

Story by Mike Hixenbaugh in the Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 24, 2012: "Last winter, when a melting ice pier in Antarctica prevented scientists with the National Science Foundation from receiving food, water and other essentials, soldiers from the Newport News base flew to the icy continent, quickly built a floating causeway and unloaded a year's worth of supplies."

Northwest Passage Wrecks Hunt Launched

The Canadian government launches its largest search yet for the lost ships of Sir John Franklin's doomed 1845 quest for the Northwest Passage.

Arctic Rescue Base Set Up by Rosneft

Russia’s largest oil company is establishing a permanent Arctic base of rescue personnel & divers in Amderma, a village on the Kara Sea coast.

Monday, 20 August 2012

More on the Launch of NZARI

Following yesterday's exciting announcement regarding the launch of the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI), the following article was published by the NZ Herald covering the mission of the institute and the generous donation that made NZARI possible.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

New Antarctic Research Insitute Receives Billionaire's Backing

The New Zealand prime minister will be launching the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI) in a special event in Wellington tonight.

New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute - Job Title: Director | New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute

New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute  - Job Title: Director | New Zealand Antarctic Research InstituteJob Number: 7044653
Date Posted: 05/01/2012
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

For position and application details:

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Call for Applications: Scott Base Volunteer Programme 2012-13

The following volunteer opportunity is being distributed on behalf of the New Zealand Antarctic Society. Position description and application forms are available for download by following the relevant web link at the bottom of this announcement.

Title: New Zealand Antarctic Society - Scott Base Volunteer Programme 2012-13
Deadline: Wednesday 12 September 2012
Please find attached an opportunity for 'current financial' members of the New Zealand Antarctic Society residing in New Zealand to work as part of a volunteer work scheme supporting New Zealand's activities in Antarctica. SBVP Application Form attached.

Two successful applicants will be selected to work at Scott Base for approximately four weeks (December 2012 to January 2013). They will help with maintenance tasks primarily painting mainly exterior window frames at Scott Base.  Several Society members have performed this role in recent years.

This is an exciting opportunity to live and work at Scott Base, complete Antarctica Field Training and experience Antarctica first hand. The base work week is Monday to Saturday with Sundays off.

You will also be invited to take part in base activities including 'Fam Trips' to various locations, cross country skiing, local walks, skiing at the Kiwi ski field and social events including Christmas and New Year. 

The US McMurdo Station with about 1100 people is only a 3 km stroll over the hill providing you with some momentary respite from Scott Base and various social and sporting activities. The area is steeped in Antarctic history with Scott's Discovery Hut just a further stroll from McMurdo as is Observation Hill with the memorial cross to Scott's Terra Nova expedition at it's summit.

Many science events pass through Scott Base over the summer season and you will have the chance to meet some leading Antarctic scientists and learn of their work.

Applications close Wednesday 12 September and returned to the branch you are affiliated to.

All applicants must be current financial members of the New Zealand Antarctic Society and be resident in New Zealand.”

For further information on the New Zealand Antarctic program and Scott Base:

To discover more about the New Zealand Antarctic Society:

Position description and application forms:

Saturday, 11 August 2012

2012 Phillip Law Memorial Lecture

Title: Why Here? The context of Hobart's Antarctic visitors (2012 Phillip Law Memorial Lecture)
Speaker: Professor Patrick Quilty, AM
Date: Thursday 16 August 2012, 6:00PM
Venue: CCAMLR Headquarters, 181 Macquarie Street, Hobart 

From the earliest days of European settlement, Hobart in Southern Tasmania has seen a long line of explorers and scientists depart for Antarctica.  Biscoe and Weddell, Dumont d’Urville, Ross, Borchgrevink, Mawson and Amundsen all used Hobart as a jumping-off point. The Australian Antarctic Division moved here in 1981, confirming the city’s Antarctic culture and community.  The Antarctic connection is more important to Tasmania than ever before, but what does the future hold?

Professor Patrick Quilty, AM is a former Chief Scientist of the Australian Antarctic Division, now Honorary Research Professor in Earth Sciences at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania.

The Phillip Law Lecture honours the lifetime achievements of the first director of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE).  Entry is open to the public and free, RSVPs not required.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

3 in 1 AAD Seminar!

Upcoming Seminar

Date: Thursday 16 August 2012, 11AM
Venue: Theatrette, Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania

Please join us for a 3 in 1 seminar session showcasing 3 talks from the recent Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) conference in Portland. Each talk is 20 min and promise to be user friendly.

Dana Bergstrom 
The Terrestrial Ecosystem
SCAR's current biology program , "Evolution and Biodiversity in the Antarctic – The response of life to change" (EBA) began in 2006 and is now winding up. Substantial progress in understanding Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems has been made under the banner of this program. I highlight approaches and major findings in three areas of research,  patterns in biodiversity and the impact of current and future environmental change on biodiversity and ecosystem function and science for conservation outcomes.

Justine Shaw 
ASPAs at risk: conservation planning and non-native species in the Antarctic protected area network 
Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs) are designated to protect outstanding environmental, scientific, historic, aesthetic or wilderness values, any combination of those values, or ongoing or planned scientific research. To what extent these ASPAs meet these multiple management aims is yet to be fully evaluated. Establishment of non-native species in the terrestrial Antarctic has the potential to alter ecosystem function and ultimately biodiversity values. Here we examine the current Antarctic conservation framework with regard to the threat to terrestrial biodiversity by non-native species.

Aleks Terauds
Environmental change captured by repeat photography: using the South African Antarctic legacy
There has been a long history of South African presence in the broader Antarctic region. Over this time, several generations of scientists and other expeditioners have photographed significant human and environmental features. Recent research into the human history of Marion Island has revealed the existence of a plethora of images. Long-term changes at a landscape scale can clearly be documented by comparison of old images (late 1960s and early 1970s) and repeat images taken at the same sites approximately 40 years later. These changes include species range expansion, increases in invasive species and climate-change mediated vegetation succession.  The original images were some of the first colour representations taken of these landscapes, and even though the original intent may not have been for monitoring purposes, their use in these comparisons makes them a unique set of baseline data.  Our work demonstrates the value of archiving historical pictures, not only for understanding the social dimensions of the human presence in Antarctica, but also for comprehending human impacts. Of particular interest are the changes in indigenous – invasive diversity relationships, and these photopoints, which have now been documented with appropriate metadata, will prove extremely useful in monitoring these changes at a landscape scale into the future.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Music, Adventure and Art from Antarctica

With National Science Week 2012 just around the corner, 11-19 August, and the Australian Antarctic Division celebrating a centenary of Antarctic expeditions there is no shortage of polar inspired events to enjoy!

Dots on the Rox

Title: Dots on the Rox
Date: Saturday, 11 August 2012, 7:30PM
Venue: Conservatorium Recital Hall, 5 Sandy Bay Road, Hobart

Scientists from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and musicians from the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music have collaborated to create a unique musical experience inspired by the tracking of southern elephant seals. Free Entry

More information at:

Cas and Jonsey 'Extreme South' Australian Tour

Title: Cas and Jonesy 'Extreme South' Australian Tour:
Date and Venue: Various around Australia ***Canberra, Wednesday, August 8th***
Tickets: General Admission $29.70 (+$0.30 booking fee)
Student Concession $19.70 (+$0.30 booking fee)

On Australia Day 2012, 'Cas' and 'Jonesy' became the first and youngest pair of adventurers to trek unsupported from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. Come join them for a night of adventure as they recount their history-making journey.

For venue dates and ticket bookings visit:

Art installation - Mirage Project by David Burrows

Title: Mirage Project [iceberg] (David Burrows, 2011 Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellow, Visual Artist)
Date: 3 August - 22 September 2012
Venue: Federation Square, Corner Swanston Street & Flinders Street, Melbourne, Victoria

David Burrows spent seven weeks capturing the beauty of Antarctica's icebergs in 3D using a stereoscopic camera system. The installation uses strategically positioned binocular shaped viewers to recreate the actual scale of icebergs. Free of charge

Installation details:

Artist website: