Session Chair: Rahul Dey; Technical Support: Gabriela Roldan. The recording of the session is available below.
11:35 - 11:50 GMT: Support for scientists to better prepare and conduct fieldwork in the Arctic: The INTERACT Fieldwork Planning Handbook and Practical Field Guide
Presenter: Andrea Schneider
Institution: APECS/UiT The Arcitc University of Norway, Norway
Type: Oral Presentation
Abstract: For many scientists, fieldwork is an important part of the research process. In the Arctic, being well prepared is essential for successful fieldwork and to ensure a high level of safety for all participants. The caveat is that many Early Career Researchers (ECR) may never have organised fieldwork nor been to the Arctic before. To help ECR to be better prepared for fieldwork in the Arctic and high Alpine regions, the INTERACT Fieldwork Planning Handbook and Practical Field Guide were jointly developed within the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 project INTERACT in close cooperation with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) and research station managers. The Fieldwork Planning Handbook provides an overview of all important aspects related to planning and performing cold regions fieldwork. Its six chapters outline how to plan and prepare for fieldwork, what researchers need to think about when they are in the field, and what they need to consider when they return home. The Handbook particularly emphasizes safety aspects: the best measures to prevent incidents; preparedness through risk assessments and contingency plans, education and training, safety equipment, communication and navigation tools. In addition, the Handbook provides comprehensive checklists, contacts and online resources for jurisdictional information about fieldwork in the Arctic. Concurrent with the handbook, we also publish the INTERACT Practical Field Guide, a handy guidebook that is based on the Fieldwork Planning Handbook and that is designed to be taken into the field as a reminder of the main safety aspects and best practices.
Presenter: Nuno Pereira
Institution: Polytechnic Institute of Beja, Portugal
Type: Oral Presentation
Abstract: An interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of global phenomena, like climate, weather, ocean and atmospheric circulation is, per se, a challenge, as natural phenomena are naturally entwined! A measure of the overall success of such endeavour will be the societal impact at the level of outreach, and education, in present and future generations. These are two cornerstones for the science drive advance of civilization. It's about changing the mind set of how we approach science education, and communication, and breaking barriers between (apparently) disconnected areas of knowledge. We believe that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics), as an umbrella approach to this new mind set, can contribute to bring together areas that are usually addressed in separate, and sometimes, mutually exclusive ways. Relative to the STEM approach to education, STEAM is an upgrade that includes Art as a new dimension. This mix of disciplines will leverage new, and different approaches to the way we perceive phenomena, and communicate our current understanding of the underlying processes. The STEAM approach is a challenge to all the actors involved, scientists, artists, educators, and students. To achieve this we need an integrated vision of the knowledge produced by different fields, in order to be able to communicate an integrated image of nature, and the role of mankind in the global ecosystem. After two experiences with the STEM approach in Antarctica, we now move in the direction of STEAM. We briefly present the current status of our experiments, and some ideas for the future.
12:05 - 12:20 GMT: The relationship between Old Whaling Industry and Tourism in Antarctica: A Narrative Approach
Presenter: Valeria A. Trezza
Institution: Instituto Fueguino de Turismo, Argentina
Type: Oral presentation
Abstract: This research distinguishes the origins and dynamics of the modern world on the Antarctic continent by looking at whaling activity from the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 20th century. Currently, tourism continues to use the vestiges of the whaling industry as resources for their practices. From 1991 to 2018, the sites most visited by tourists are precisely those areas which hold symbolic and material content related to whales, namely: Goudier Island, Cuverville Island, Port Neko, Half Moon Island and Whalers Bay; adding to the Grytviken Bay and the whale watching. Through a qualitative and descriptive methodology; this work analyses the relationships between the old whaling and tourism in Antarctica by highlighting four themes: 1) the incorporation of Antarctica into the capitalist system; 2) the relationships between scientific and economic activities;3) the participation of whaling and tourism during the 20th century; and 4) tourism as the last part of whaling´s commercial history. Concluding, the practices of old whaling and tourism in Antarctica coincide in responding to the global capitalist system and the regime of the Antarctic Treaty System. For example, the International Whaling Commission and the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators share similar aspects such as the contributions of scientific knowledge, and the competitiveness and complementarity of Antarctic tourism. Both are responsibly involved in Antarctic activities with the environment. Thus, tourism practices and the Antarctic tour operators in articulation with scientific and political actors build a hierarchy and resignification of historical sites and travel itineraries.
12:20 - 12:45 GMT: Breaking barriers to the inclusion of Early Career Scientists in the peer-review process: the APECS-organized group review of the IPCC SROCC
Presenter: Jilda Caccavo
Institution: Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) / Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research (BeGenDiv), Germany
Type: Oral presentation
Abstract: Early Career Scientists (ECS) represent a large part of the workforce in polar science, and globally in research. While ECS receive substantial academic training, they often have limited exposure to how the scientific community self-evaluates and communicates. ECS face significant barriers to participation in the peer-review process. One way to break these barriers is by inviting ECS to participate in group reviews. Here we present a group review of the first and second order drafts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “Special Report on Ocean and Cryosphere and in a Changing Climate” (SROCC) supported by over 100 ECS from around the world during Spring/Autumn 2018. Overall, we found that PhD students spent more time reviewing than those further advanced in their careers but provided a similar proportion of substantive comments. After the review, participants reported feeling more confident about their skills, and 86% expressed interest in reviewing individually. By including ECS in peer-review processes, the scientific community not only reduces the burden imposed on more established scientists, but permits ECS to develop important professional skills relevant to their future careers and improve the overall quality of the review.
Presenter: Clare Eayrs
Institution: New York University Abu Dhabi
Type: Oral presentation
Abstract: The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) is a multidisciplinary, international organization dedicated to maintaining a network of early career researchers to share ideas, develop collaborative research directions, provide career development opportunities, and promote education and outreach related to polar research. APECS has stimulated polar literacy through innovative science communication, well-integrated public outreach and engagement, and partnerships with Arctic and Antarctic organizations. Examples of one- and two-way engagement between APECS’ members and the general public are illustrated in our involvement with digital events and social media initiatives. Successful events include Antarctica Day, webinars, and our annual APECS Online Conference. One of our popular social media initiatives are biannual Polar Week celebrations; this includes Twitter campaigns, Reddit “Ask Me Anything” discussions, and photo and video contests. Benefits of using modern technologies and techniques for stimulating public engagement about polar research include easier dissemination of ideas across geographic distances as well as to remote areas with minimal cost and a low carbon footprint. While this presentation focuses on APECS’ experiences, we will also highlight how innovative communication promotes international discussion and cooperation across disciplines, then offer suggestions on how to incorporate similar elements into other outreach programs.
12:50 - 13:05 GMT: Hydro-chemical study of Gurudongmar Lake: A High Mountain Lake in Sikkim Himalaya, India
Presenter: Arindam Chowdhury
Institution: North-Eastern Hill University, India
Type: Oral presentation
Abstract: High mountain lakes are especially vulnerable to climate change due to their small catchment area, less vegetation cover and low weathering rates. A detail hydro-chemical analysis of sacred Gurudongmar Lake, situated at an altitude of 5100 m above sea level in Sikkim Himalaya in India, was carried out during the pre-monsoon (June) and post-monsoon (November) seasons in 2018. In all the surveys, the lake was sampled in summer and early winter in the ice-free condition. The water samples were collected systematically from six different sites to represent entirely the quality of the lake (inlet, outlet, human influence site and littoral zones). Major concentrations of cations and anions were analysed by Ion chromatography and Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). Water temperature, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS), salinity, turbidity and dissolved oxygen (DO) were measured on-site. The pH levels ranged between (8.03 – 9.66) ±0.01, followed by EC (52.01 and 60.10) ±1 µS cm-1, DO (7.90 – 10.60) ± 0.4 mg/L and low PO43- concentration 1.86 ±0.01 mg/L signifies that the lake is oligotrophic in nature. The increase in concentrations of most of the ions in the pre-monsoon time probably due to more snowmelt runoff and atmospheric transported pollutants through dry deposition, whereas higher concentrations of NO3- and Cl- in some sites reflect the localized impacts of nomadic settlement, tourist influxes and grazing. Further higher concentration of SO42- may be due to the higher rate of chemical weathering in the region. The findings of the present study can be a preliminary dataset for the evaluation of future anthropogenic influence on the lake and subsequent development for lake management in future.
13:05 - 13:15 GMT: Reconstructing population histories and biogeography of Antarctic Charcotia (Amphipoda, Crustacea)
Presenter: Tim Plevoets
Institution: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Type: Flash presentation
Abstract: Antarctica is undergoing alterations induced by global warming and ocean acidification. However, also in the past, environmental changes have influenced many Antarctic species, for example, during glacial and interglacial periods. How they have accomplished this can also be studied to provide insights into future responses. The RECTO (Refugia and Ecosystem Tolerance in the Southern Ocean) project investigates the historical dynamics forced by previous glaciation periods and possible responses to future climate change. One part of the project reconstructs the population history of different taxa from various trophic levels. Here, we will specifically focus on the amphipod genus Charcotia (formerly known as Waldeckia sp.), of which two species are investigated: C. obesa and C. amundseni. The population history and biogeography will be reconstructed from different localities in the Southern Ocean with molecular tools, including sequencing the COI DNA barcoding region, to construct haplotype networks and test for cryptic diversity. We will also apply Next-Generation-Sequencing (NGS) techniques to unravel the complete mitochondrial genome of these amphipod species. Sequence data from complete mitochondrial genomes will allow us to design primers for long range PCRs to obtain mitogenomic data from different populations of both species.
13:15 - 13:25 GMT: Evidence of mercury bioaccumulation in skin samples of southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) at ASPA 132, Isla 25 de Mayo (King George Island), Antarctic Peninsula
Presenter: Dalia C. Barragán-Barrera
Institution: Laboratorio de Ecología Molecular de Vertebrados Acuáticos-LEMVA, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
Type: Flash presentation
Abstract: The southern elephant seal (SES) (Mirounga leonina) has a circumpolar distribution, breeding mainly on sub-Antarctic islands, and making long trips up to thousands of kilometers between breeding or molting and foraging areas, exposing to pollutants. Individuals from the colony in Isla 25 de Mayo (Antarctic Peninsula) are distributed on an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA 132), but anthropogenic releases of pollutants can reach remote areas far away from emission sources and then affect local fauna in the long-term. To assess the mercury concentrations in skin samples of SES in Isla 25 de Mayo (62º15’S, 58º39’W), South Shetland, dermal tissue samples from free-ranging SES (n=50) were collected using a remote biopsy dart sampling method (PAXARMS system). Skin samples were analyzed to determine total-mercury (THg) concentrations. The results indicated that THg concentrations ranged between 142-1,915 µg/kg (mean=730 µg/kg, SD=388). The THg values reported here are relatively low compared to those in skin from e.g. Commerson dolphins in sub-Antarctic waters in Tierra del Fuego (Argentina) (mean=1,380 µg/kg, SD=850, n=9), but were higher than THg values reported in skin of humpback whales in Gerlache Strait (Antarctic Peninsula) (mean=35 µg/kg, SD=3.7, n=14). Differences in THg values between marine mammals may be explained by their feeding ecology, since whales feed on low trophic level prey (mainly krill), whereas dolphins and SES consume higher trophic level prey (pelagic feed and squid). These results show some insights about mercury pollution in top predators such as SES, and the need to continue monitoring the pollutants levels in Antarctic.
Presenter: Cristina Cedeno-Posso
Institution: Institute of Marine and Coastal Research (INVEMAR), Colombia
Type: Flash presentation
Abstract: The Institute of Marine and Coastal Research - INVEMAR, in 2014, begins the development of its Antarctic scientific agenda with three fronts of work focused on: climate change, conservation and biodiversity. Since then has participated in three of the five Scientific Expeditions of Colombia to the Antarctic, with the project Biodiversity and Oceanographic Conditions of the Strait of Gerlache "Biogerlache-Antarctica". The objective of the project is the characterization of the Antarctic fauna of the Strait, in order to create a baseline of biological and physical knowledge, which generates new contributions to the biological inventories and contributes to expand the information for define possible areas of conservation.
Biological sampling was carried out during the austral summer of 2015, 2017 and 2018 in 36 stations, on board the ship ARC 20 de Julio, using shipek and van veen grabs samplers, plankton nets and a R.O.V Eloy V. 110 samples were collected and one video transect. The preliminary results obtained allowed to differentiate 137 morphospecies belonging to 12 phyla: Nematoda, Nemertea, Sipuncula, Foraminifera, Bryozoa, Porifera, Cnidaria, Mollusca, Annelida, Arthropoda, Echinodermata and Chordata. All the material collected has been deposited in the Museum of Marine Natural History of Colombia - MAKURIWA, of the Invemar and represents the firsts vouchers of Antarctic species collected by Colombia and deposited in a national collection.
13:35 - 14:05 GMT: Keynote: Polar Educators International; A Vibrant Global Network Bridges the Gap Between Education and Research to Share Polar Science with the Broader Community
Presenter: Neelu Singh
Institution: Vice president - Polar Educators International (PEI) Executive Committee
Type: Keynote presentation
Abstract: Effective science education, outreach and communication need to be higher priorities within the scientific and education communities to develop informed decision makers with a deep understanding of our world and the nature of science. Conversations along these lines occurred during International Polar Year (IPY) Conferences in Oslo and Montreal. Dedicated educators and early career researchers in attendance at IPY conferences created an international network from these conversations, that five years later, has developed into a respected resource for Polar science communities wishing to make more meaningful connections with non-science audiences. Polar Educators International (PEI) is an effective example of capacity building, education, outreach, and training efforts of researchers, educators, science communicators, and others across the globe working together to bridge the gap between education and research.
This network of volunteer polar science education practitioners, has grown to include a general membership of over 1500 individuals from 30 countries. PEI working groups partner educators with polar researchers, to develop activities both on-line, and in face-to-face interactions to activate polar knowledge transfer and dissemination. These demonstrated partnerships have created Master Classes offering online professional development providing resources and tools to increase knowledge and skills as a science communicator. Classes address current polar research, and connects participants to the PEI network of researchers and teachers in meaningful ways.
PEI sponsors international workshops, that have seen increasing attendance by researchers, demonstrating growing value in the connections and educational content PEI offers. Workshops offer value to educators, providing community, access to resources and professional development. The value to researchers is an expansion of professional networks to include educators, and partnerships to ensure educators have access to best-available polar science.
Members of PEI’s Council and Executive Committee gather insights and perspectives to think strategically about the future of this network.