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by Dr Laurence Clarke

Just over 10 years ago, Sharon and I got within 12 nautical miles of Mawson station when we came to Antarctica to collect moss samples as part of my PhD project. At the time the sea ice was too thick and we had to turn back, but we already had enough samples from Casey and Davis so it wasn’t a big deal.

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.

Recent PhD graduate Dr Jessica Bramley-Alves has written an article for the Guardian Higher Education section Why I love my PhD.  Like Laurence she worked in Antarctica. She writes “My PhD takes me to one of the last truly wild places on earth. I thought a PhD wouldn’t suit me or I’d find the lab work tedious. But it’s actually been a great adventure”

Read more here

It hasn’t been smooth sailing setting up, collecting weather data and sampling when in the field – and not just because of the unpredictable weather. Our frenemies, the skuas, have certainly increased their curiosity this season.

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.

After waking up very early (4 am!) to a calm and cool Australia Day; Tavo, Jorge (Chief of Base) and I tackled a 10 km run, which ended up more like an obstacle course on ice, rock and through snow trenches.

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.

Sundays are days off for the chefs here at Base Escudero and so research teams can use this opportunity to show off their culinary skills. Our group stepped up to the challenge last week and cooked a delicious lunch for 30 hungry workers and scientists.