Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


APECS organized several activities during the  SCAR Open Science Conference 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 20 - 30 August 2016.

  • a one-day career development workshop on 21 August 2016
  • presentations awards for early career researchers 

Read more about the activities below.

APECS Workshop at SCAR Open Science Conference 2016

A full day APECS workshop was held in Malaysia on August 21, immediately prior to the 2016 SCAR Open Science Conference. This workshop attracted over 60 participants, with early career researchers from all over the globe attending.

Jose Xavier from the British Antarctic Survey opened the workshop, presenting on “Networking Skills: an important soft skill for a scientist?” Next, Renuka Badhe from the European Polar Board provided an introduction to “international Cooperation and Interdisciplinary Work.” Their advice about networking was soon put into practice, with an interactive icebreaker activity encouraging participants to mingle and meet each other during the coffee break.

Jose Xavier presenting at APECS workshop     Renuka Badhe presenting at APECS workshop

Jose Xavier and Renuka Badhe present at the APECS workshop - image: Bernabé Moreno

The second part of the morning was spent learning about some of the unique projects and products that were being launched or further developed at SCAR 2016. George Roth, from the Norwegian Polar Institute, provided an introduction to Quantarctica, a collection of Antarctic geographical datasets which works with the free, open-source software QGIS. He was followed by Anne le Brocq from the University of Exeter, who provided a preview of her new interactive computer game about ice sheets in Antarctica, called “Ice Flows.” The SCAR conference provided a unique opportunity for scientists and policy makers to meet face to face, and this fact was highlighted by Gabriela Roldan from the University of Canterbury. Gabriela introduced the Survey on Antarctic Science - Policy making engagement, and encouraged all APECS members present to take place in the survey in order to improve science-policy interactions in the future. Cornelia Lüdecke from the SCAR History Expert Group also spoke briefly, and encouraged APECS members to make the most of the SCAR conference by attending sessions outside of their immediate fields.

For many of those present, the workshop was their first APECS event. APECS Director Gerlis Fugmann presented an introduction to “The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists and how to get involved” in order to outline the many activities APECS is involved in. Hanne Nielsen from APECS Oceania and Alex Thornton from USAPECS then talked about their National Committee activities.

APECS workshop participants in Kuala Lumpur (SCAR 2016)

APECS workshop participants in Kuala Lumpur - image: Bernabé Moreno

Lunch was followed by a plenary discussion on Career Paths, with the mentors Louise Huffman, (Dartmouth College, United States), Renuka Badhe, (European Polar Board, Netherlands), Anne Le Brocq, (University of Exeter, UK), and - via skype from New Zealand - Victoria Metcalf (National Coordinator of the Participatory Science Platform, Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Adviser - New Zealand). The discussion, which was chaired by Jennifer Cooper,  provided an opportunity for those present to contemplate the range of career paths available post-PhD, including academia, industry, policy, and education.

The final session of the day involved two breakout sessions, one on ‘Writing Funding Applications,” and the other on “Sharpening communication skills.” David Walton, (British Antarctic Survey, United Kingdom), Pete Convey, (British Antarctic Survey, United Kingdom) and Daniela Liggett, (University of Canterbury, New Zealand) first identified common pitfalls in grant writing, and answered specific questions in smaller workshop-style groups. In the parallel session, Louise Huffman (Dartmouth College, United States), Michael Becker  (BBC Natural History Unit), Tim Naish, (University of Wellington, New Zealand), Jan Strugnell (La Trobe University, Australia) and Kenny Matsuoka (Norwegian Polar Institute, Norway) explored novel ways of communicating science to the wider public.

Many thanks to all of the mentors who helped to make the workshop a success, to Antarctic Science for providing lunch, and to the SCAR 2016 conference for providing a venue and coffee breaks.

Presentation Awards at the SCAR Open Science Conference 2016

The SCAR Open Science Conference and Biennial Meetings 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (20 - 30 August 2016) attracted nearly 1000 Antarctic researchers and managers from around the world. To acknowledge the outstanding presentations (oral and poster) given by the many early career researchers, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) awarded prizes for the best oral and poster presentations by region and one each for the best overall.

The Award Organizing Committee (Heike Link, Johanna Grabow, Gerlis Fugmann and Jenny Baeseman) would like to especially thank the many conveners and conference participants that helped with the judging for those awards!!!

Congratulations to the recipients are listed below:


  • Best Overall Early Career Oral Presentation: Theresa King (University of South Florida, United States) - Mid-20th century intrusion of Circumpolar Deep Water on Ross Sea and Wilkes Land continental margins evidenced by stylaster-coral isotopic signals.
  • Best Overall Early Career Poster Presentation: Francyne Elias-Piera (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) - E-learning course on the Antarctic environment: An interdisciplinary and collaborative production

ASIAN Region:

  • 1st Place Early Career Oral Presentation: Wee Cheah (Academia Sinica, Taiwan) - The role of mixing and silicate in regulating phytoplankton community structure in the iron-limited Antarctic Polar Front
  • 2nd Place Early Career Oral Presentation: Abiramy Krishnan (University of Malaya, Malaysia) - Influence of temperature on amylase and cellulase activity from polar and tropical soil microfungi
  • Best Early Career Poster: Shridhar Jawak (National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, India) - Empirical modelling of bathymetry of Antarctic lakes using high-resolution multispectral imagery


  • 1st Place Early Career Oral Presentation: Jean Loock (Stellenbosch University, South Africa) - The seasonal distribution and controls of bioactive trace elements cadmium and cobalt in the southern ocean, Atlantic sector.
  • 2nd Place Early Career Oral Presentation: Trevor McIntyre (University of Pretoria, South Africa) - Long-term niche fidelity in southern elephant seals: Do individuals display unique foraging strategies?
  • Best Early Career Poster: Ryan Cloete (Stellenbosch University, South Africa) - The distribution and controls of bioactive trace elements (Cu and Zn) in the Atlantic Sector of the Southern Ocean.


  • 1st Place Early Career Oral Presentation: Taryn Noble (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Australia) - Testing the ice-ocean feedback mechanism: Reliable extraction of proxy data from surface sediments on the East Antarctic margin.
  • 2nd Place Early Career Oral Presentation: Hanne Nielsen (University of Tasmania, Australia) - Hoofprints in Antarctica: The significance of Byrd’s polar dairy.
  • Best Early Career Poster: Diana King (University of Wollongong, Australia) - Semi-automated Antarctic vegetation monitoring using digital photography


  • 1st Place Early Career Oral Presentation: Muhammed Jeofry (Imperial College London, United Kingdom) - Geophysical investigations of the subglacial embayment in the Institute Ice Stream of West Antarctica
  • 2nd Place Early Career Oral Presentation: George Roth (Norwegian Polar Institute, Norway) - Quantarctica 3.0: A Cross-Platform, Full-Featured Open GIS for Antarctic Research
  • Best Early Career Poster: Rachel Downey (Senckenberg Natural History Museum and Research Institute, Germany) - Biogeographic review of carnivorous sponges in the Southern Ocean


  • 1st Place Early Career Oral Presentation: Cassandra Brooks (Stanford University, United States) - Competing values and political complexity in the Southern Ocean: CCAMLR and the challenge of marine protected areas
  • 2nd Place Early Career Oral Presentation: Michelle Shero (University of Alaska - Anchorage, United States) - Do Weddell seals “freeze” pregnancy? Intra-specific variation in gestation of a top Antarctic predator
  • Best Early Career Poster: Jade Lawrence (Louisiana State University, United States) - Subsurface hypersaline brine discharge from Taylor Glacier into Lake Bonney at depth


  • 1st Place Early Career Oral Presentation: Camila Signori (University of São Paulo, Brazil) - Assessing the impact of climate change on microbial diversity across environmental gradients in the southern ocean
  • 2nd Place Early Career Oral Presentation: Claudio Rivas (Austral University of Chile, Chile) - Stress response in Chlorella sp. isolated from snow community in King George Island
  • Best Early Career Poster: Patricia Saez (University of Concepción, Chile) - Diffusive and biochemical limitations to photosynthesis in Antarctic plants from two populations in Antarctica

The Co-Chair of the Conference Sciencific Organizing Committee, Irene Schloss, presented recipients with a certificate and a copy of “Polar Science and Global Climate: An International Resource for Education and Outreach” at the Closing Ceremony hosted by Dato’ Dr. Mohd Azhar Bin Hj. Yahaya, Secretary General, Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation. Oral and poster presentations were judged in 3 categories: scientific content, quality of presentation and capacity to contribute with the research to the session and a broader context.

CONGRATULATIONS to all recipients and we hope to see you in two years at the POLAR 2018 Conference in Davos, Switzerland!

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