We have just got back from KL where the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research held its biennial meeting. Mel and I went via Singapore so we could catch up with Jessica on the way. We got to see the Singapore Botanical Gardens as well and meet some VIP orchids. Diana and Mick met up with us in KL. Xurxo Gago who is visiting our lab for a few months came from Spain. We also met up with our Antarctic collaborators Todd from Portland, USA and Angelica from Concepcion, Chile as well as several hundred other Antarctic Scientists. We were surprised to find that fashion week was on in KL but we couldn’t find a red shoe to pose in (see news from SCAR 2014 in NZ).
Antarctica is a natural subject for interdisciplinary exploration because it ignites passion and curiosity on so many fronts. The day brought together a kaleidoscope of interested parties from the worlds of visual art, toxicology, history, climate science, law, plant biology and the humanities. Such disciplinary diversity gave a taste of the contradictions that Antarctica embraces - whether from the point of view of temperature change, ice movement or the tourism industry of this remote continent.
Here are links to a video of a presentation that I gave at the Eco Antarctica Symposium - "INTERDISCIPLINARY PATHWAYS TO ANTARCTICA" on 9 August 2016 at the Leon Kane-Maguire Theatre, Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong.
The video is available in HD from my multimedia page
and also on Youtube, where you can find some of my other media presentations.
It has been a busy month. PhD Student Beat Keller visited us from Germany bringing the new Forschungszentrum Jülich LIFT for Rhys to try out. Then we got new stronger light emitting diodes (LEDs) for our instrument so Rhys and Beat installed these. We can know measure fluoresence over bigger areas of canopy. So Rhys is pretty happy. You can see them working in the dark here.
Ex Lab member Dr Laurence Clarke has been on the Kerguelen (k)-Axis Marine Science Voyage aboard the Aurora Australis for about 6 weeks now. He was collecting samples to barcode marine life and wrote a guest blog about his research here.
There is also a news feature on the Australian Antarctic Division web site.
Our time on King George Island is coming to an end and we are wrapping up some experiments that were focusing on salt, temperature, light and water stresses.
On the evening of Saturday 16th January many prominent international scientists (including Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry and in Physics), academics, business professionals and Chilean politicians visited Base Escudero and the laboratories. This diverse group was invited to meet in Santiago, Chile for the Congreso del Futuro to talk about climate change and the challenges facing humanity today.
I am lucky to participate in another research trip to King George Island (KGI), West Antarctica organised by the Instituto Antartico Chileno. Last year Sharon, Andrew and I were part of a group of scientists from a diverse range of countries lead by Angélica Casanova-Katny. This time around I am accompanying Gustavo, Tavo and Marisol from USACH as part of my Endeavour program.
Dr Mel has been in Antarctica for over a week now and we are hoping there will be updates and exciting news but unfortunately the internet is slow (probably doesn't like the cold) and so she is sending messages via whats app. Luckily there is mobile phone coverage on King George Island! Looks like Tavo is on the phone in the lab here.