Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

News from and about the wider APECS Network. If you have an article to contribute, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or submit via our reporting forms for APECS National Committees

Erica Oberndorfer and Thomas Lameris are the Inaugural CAFF-IASC Fellows!

CAFF-IASC Fellows in 2018 Erica Oberndorfur and Thomas Lameris
Thomas Lameris
and Erica Oberndorfer are the inaugural CAFF-IASC Fellows!

The Conservation of Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) welcome Thomas Lameris and Erica Oberndorfer to the inaugural CAFF-IASC Fellowship in 2018.

CAFF and IASC have teamed up together to provide Fellows with an opportunity to identify an area of interest and expertise, participate in and contribute to CAFF’s work, and produce at least one peer reviewed publication and/or deliverable report to the Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials.

The selection process was organized in cooperation with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), who managed the applications and coordinated the work of independent, volunteer reviewers to evaluate and recommend the highest quality candidates. The final selection was made in consultation with CAFF and IASC.

Lameris and Oberndorfer will begin their Fellowship by attending the CAFF Board Meeting February 6-8, 2018 in Fairbanks, Alaska. After this initial introduction, they will delve into their respective projects and continue with appropriate meeting(s), and advance the work of the groups on which they will focus. In addition, they are expected to contribute to the program of the Arctic Biodiversity Congress, 2018.

Lameris will focus his activities on CAFF’s Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI) and Oberndorfer will focus on CAFF’s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program’s (CBMP) Terrestrial work.

Lameris is a bird ecologist, mainly focusing on the impacts of climate warming on phenology and reproduction of Arctic migratory birds. During his MSc at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands (2013), he studied the effects of anthropogenic land use changes on breeding birds. He shifted in focus to climate warming effects during his PhD, where he studied barnacle geese that migrate from wintering grounds in Western Europe to breeding grounds in Arctic Russia. He is currently finishing up his PhD thesis, and starting his post-doc work on the effects of climate warming on the growth of red knots that breed in the Russian Arctic.

Oberndorfer received her PhD from Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) in 2016 and is a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Labrador Institute in Happy Valley-Goose Bay (Labrador, Canada), where she lives. Her work is guided by plant mentors in the Inuit Community of Makkovik (Nunatsiavut), with a view to understanding how plants are integrated into daily life in the region, and how plant communities express the ecological legacy of cultural practices in Labrador. She is currently working on the Makkovik Plant Book, a community book focused on the teachings of Makkovimiut plant mentors.

CAFF and IASC welcome Lameris and Oberndorfer and thank APECS for helping to promote the Fellowship and securing the successful candidates.

USAPECS Workshop: Making Your Communication More Effective

b_670_446_16777215_00_images_news_2018__DSC4913_Large.jpgYou may have heard some version of the phrase “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” This statement has been accredited to many great people from Mark Twain to Cicero to Winston Churchill, but it was actually Blaise Pascal - a French mathematician, theologian, physicist and inventor - who penned the original that has been paraphrased for nearly 400 years.

Although Pascal championed his way through many fields of science in the 17th century, his wit still offers a good lesson in humility to scientists today when it comes to communicating their research. Putting complex ideas into simple, direct language can take a lot of effort, as a group of us recently learned.

For three days in August 2017, thirty-two researchers from around the world (the majority of whom were early career) gathered at the University of Colorado in Boulder, USA for a workshop to improve their skills at “Communicating Polar Science". Sponsored by NSF and NASA, and co-organized by IGS, APECS and USAPECS, this event was led by science communication professionals.

The first two days focused on oral communication, led by instructors from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. Using role playing exercises and games from the world of improvisation, we learned how to connect with a range of audiences by finding common ground, telling stories, and painting evocative pictures.

Our first lesson was that communicating well requires listening and thinking from the perspective of your audience. Our instructors illustrated this point by noting how reading a scientific paper for a layperson is like someone with no knowledge of baseball trying to read a technical newspaper account of a game. In a parallel to oral communication, we performed an improve exercise in pairs in which one person had to precisely mirror the motions of the other. When in the role of the leader, we realized we had to adapt the speed and complexity of our motions so that the copier could follow, in the same way that a great communicator reads and adapts to the reactions of their audience. We also practiced techniques to better get to know and understand our audience. For instance, asking questions to establish their level of understanding, or breaking an opponent’s views down into shared core values (e.g. equality, honesty) when in a debate to reveal their line of reasoning.

Another key skill we honed at the workshop was how to engage an audience and convey a foreign concept using metaphors and analogies, along with movie quotes and song lyrics. Learning by doing, we practiced giving TV interviews; each being filmed and then critiqued by the group. Feedback covered tone (e.g. show more passion), clarity (e.g. shorter sentences, repeat key points) and body language (e.g. more eye contact, stay present). This collaborative format nurtured team building, too: participants began to coach one another, and as the paths of communication opened up, everyone became more animated and confident. We also learned the power of putting your key message up front and then using repetition to embed it in the minds of your audience. Other highlighted techniques included stating something surprising about your research, or showing how it relates to your audiences’ lives to create intrigue, and revealing why you care about what you study to generate rapport.

DHIEfx-V0AA9QgQ.jpgThe final day of the workshop focused on written communication. Dr. Max Boykoff and his team from the Center for Science and Technology Policy at CU Boulder provided new perspectives on how to develop different writing styles for different media, from academic journal articles to social media posts. We learned how to build a Twitter following by finding your niche tweeting topic, along with sharing parts of your non-scientist personality, like external interests. Studying examples, we saw how photographs (e.g. animal encounters), short videos (e.g. interviews) and graphics can make a critical difference in achieving a wide reach. Comparing and discussing articles in groups, we saw how keeping language free of jargon, using a frame (e.g. adventure journalism), and incorporating characters and human interest (e.g. food) could be employed to great effect.

The workshop provided many opportunities to step outside one’s comfort zone and to develop the skills to talk effectively with the wider public. Participants practiced using the ‘Yes, and…’ exercise when confronting an opposing viewpoint. Instead of responding ‘no’ and setting up a debate where we remain opposed, we started with ‘yes, and…’ to build positive momentum on what someone else thinks, creating a bond by agreeing with something they find important. After they understand you’re listening, they are more willing to hear what you want to say. This simple technique can be used in everyday in both formal and informal settings. Participant Robin Matthews said, “I came away with a deeper understanding that communication should have a clear purpose. Now, instead of jumping straight into the show of my communicating, I first ask myself - what do I what my audience to think, feel or do?”

Christian Wild, a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, put his training to use even before leaving Boulder. “I was thrown in at the deep end when I joined a panel discussion on science communication at the IGS symposium immediately after our workshop, along with workshop participant Michaela King and two more senior scientists. During this discussion and the question session from the audience, I was particularly thankful for the improvisation techniques that we learned from the Alda team just a few days earlier. Paying close, dynamic attention to others, reading their body language and nonverbal cues helped me to shift my focus from what I was saying to what the audience was receiving.”
This workshop report from “Communicating Science for Polar Researchers” was written by Robin Matthews, Paul Rosenbaum, and Christian Wild who, as international participants, received funding from the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) to attend the workshop. The workshop was organized by Alice Bradley, Ellyn Enderlin, Mahsa Moussavi, and Allen Pope and funded by the NSF Office of Polar Programs (Award #1720574) and the NASA Cryosphere Program (Award #NNX17AK61G).

USAPECS Board applications until 21 January

USAPESC newWith the start of a new year, USAPECS would like to announce a call for applications for its executive board for 2018. Members of the USAPECS Board are expected to work together to develop and execute activities that they think will be of interest and beneficial to APECS members living in the US. The activities can include anything you're passionate about, from organizing social events or panel discussions at meetings to running a Reddit AMA session or organizing a webinar. This past year we ran a super successful science communication workshop at the University of Colorado Boulder and we would love to have new Board members organize something similar in the future! We'd also love volunteers to continue our Polar Film Festival in September and organize a panel and social at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in Washington DC in December.

It's a great opportunity to become more involved in the broader polar science community within the US. The activity (or activities) you help with are totally up to you! The time commitment varies depending on your level of involvement, but is typically an hour or so per month unless you are particularly involved in an activity (like running a scicomm workshop).

If you're interested in serving on the USAPECS Board in 2018, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name, title of your current position (undergrad, Masters student, PhD student, postdoc, faculty, etc), where you are employed, and a few short sentences on activities you would like to help organize this year. Applications are due January 21st. We'll have an online meeting to welcome new members the following week.

I hope to see your applications!

APECS-Arctic Frontiers Panel Discussion: Adventures in the Field on 23 January

MariaMonteiro 2INTERACT LogoThe Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) is currently involved in the EU Horizon-2020 INTERACT project, an Arctic-wide network of field stations. In relation to this work we are organising a panel discussion about 'Fieldwork in the Arctic' during the upcoming Arctic Frontiers 2018 conference in Tromsø, Norway.

The aim is to have a stimulating discussion about what it takes to plan and carry out field work in the Arctic, covering aspects such as logistics, safety, and how best to ensure fieldwork is as successful as possible. The hour-long discussion will comprise four panelists who will share their experiences and plenty of time for questions from the audience.


  • Alex Messerli, Norwegian Polar Institute
  • Ingrid Wiedmann, Norwegian Polar Institute
  • Svein Mathiesen, International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry
  • Morten Rasch, University of Copenhagen

Date & Time:
Tuesday 23 January 2018, 17h00-18h00

Radisson Hotel Tromsø, Norway, Room TBD

Congratulations to the 2018 IASC Fellows

iasc webapecs logo webIASC and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) have the pleasure to announce the start of the 2018 IASC Fellowship Program. The Program received 135 applications for only 5 slots. During the selection process, APECS coordinated the generous work of our independent, volunteer reviewers to evaluate and recommend the highest quality candidates, and final selection was made in consultation with each of the IASC Working Group chairs.
The chairs and reviewers were certainly impressed by the record amount and excellent quality of the applications.

The 2018 IASC Fellows are:

The IASC Fellowship Program is meant to engage ECS in the work of the IASC Working Groups. More information about the IASC Fellowship Program can be found here.

2017 APECS Season's Greetings

Dear APECS members, supporters and friends,

2017 Seasons GreetingsAPECS had again a very successful year in 2017 and we wanted to thank all of our members, mentors, sponsors and partners for helping us shape the future of polar research!

Enjoy some of our best moments of 2017 in our APECS 2017 Season’s Greetings video.

Happy New Year to all of you! We are looking forward to a fantastic 2018!

Best wishes,

Hanne Nielsen, APECS President 2017-2018
Gerlis Fugmann, APECS Executive Director
on behalf of the APECS Leadership

APECS Italy celebrates Antarctica Day at the Climate Change, the Grand Challenge public outreach symposium at the University of Ca' Foscari Venice

This year, APECS Italy organized its third Antarctica Day event in conjunction with the ‘Climate change, the grand challenge’ public outreach symposium, held at the Zattere campus of the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari. In contrast to previous years, APECS Italy teamed up with a larger event to celebrate Antarctica Day, one that was focused on the use of art to communicate science. To this end, as well as to emphasize how the themes of polar research and climate change are in inextricably intertwined, the event was organized in two parts: after a brief introduction to the impacts of climate change in the Veneto region by Professor Roberto Pastres from the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari, the first half of the event focused on the use of art to capture themes of climate change. In this section, works by artists submitted to a competition for inclusion in the symposium were displayed and discussed by the symposium judges, as well as by the artists (when they were present). Works included painting, sculpture and poetry. The second part of the event was spearheaded by APECS Italy, more specifically addressing Antarctica Day by discussing topics in polar research and how they relate to climate change concerns. The presentations revolved around the theme of polar exploration in research, specifically, the confluence of the scientific aspects with the human experience. The ‘Protecting Ice Memory’ project was discussed, promoted by the University of Ca’ Foscari Venice, the CNR-IDPA in Venice and the LGGE in Grenoble. The final section concluded with a reading of the polar diary recently published by Federico Dallo, which sheds light on the human side of conducting polar research: the hardships, emotions and triumphs.

20171201 190539 APECS Italy Antarctica Day 2017

20171201 190612 APECS Italy Antarctica Day 2017 2

Winners of the Antarctica Day Photo Contest 2017

Thank you for all the great submissions to the APECS Antarctica Day Photo Contest 2017 Antarctica Alive! After all the votes are in, we are happy to announce the two winners in each category:


Category: Antarctic teamwork in the field 

1st Prize: Maria Monteiro, University of Waikato, New Zealand

December 2016, Lake Vanda in Wright Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys - Sampling soil and microbial mats at Lake Vanda, Wright Valley

MariaMonteiro 2


2nd Prize: Roseline C. Thakur, National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Goa, India

The pic was taken by me from the bridge of Ivan Papanin which was embarked at the ice shelf of East Antarctica which is around 100km from the second Indian station Maitri. The pic was taken during the summer (March) of 2014.

Description:Arduous teamwork of Indian Scientists and Logistic personnel on the ice shelf of east Antarctica to unload the cargo on the ice shelf and transport the necessary ration, fuel and scientific equipment to the permanent Indian base, Maitri, in vehicle convoys. The excellent coordination and hard work of the team ensures the sustenance of the Station and ensures the smooth functioning of the scientific activities throughout the harsh winter of this frozen continent.

Roseline Thakur 1


"Antarctic fauna" category: 

1st Prize: Stefano Ambroso, Institut de Ciencies del Mar Barcelona, Spain

Photo was taken the 3rd of January 2014 During Polarstern Expedition ANTXXIX/9 in the Weddell Sea

Description: Lobodon carcinophagus Crabeater Seal looking intensely the photographer!

Stefano Ambroso


2nd Prize: Angela Klemmedson, University of San Diego, United States

Neko Harbor, Western Antarctic Peninsula (December 2015)

Description: Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) basking in the glory of icebergs

Angela Klemmedson



Report published: APECS-IASC-AMAP Workshop

The pace of Arctic change is outrunning the process of conducting scientific assessments. However, the demand and need for timely, accurate, relevant, and credible information is greater than ever. Scientific assessments synthesize, document and supply critical information to decision-makers on key issues. They continue to be the principal means for harnessing and communicating scientific knowledge, but the mechanisms of this process are unfamiliar to many early-career researchers.

To address this need, the Association of Polar Early Career Researchers (APECS), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) hosted a one-day workshop about scientific assessments on 24 April 2017 in conjunction with the International Conference on Arctic Science: Bringing Knowledge to Action. The workshop was attended by two dozen early-career and mid-career researchers and professionals from a range of countries and disciplines. Thirteen panellists, including assessment creators, contributors, communicators and end-users, discussed how assessments are produced, how scientific knowledge is translated and communicated, and how scientists can leverage assessments in their own outreach. Many valuable lessons and practical skills were discussed, as well as challenges and opportunities for the future of scientific assessments in the Arctic.

Full Article in The Polar Journal:

amap logo

iasc web

apecs logo web

Call for Reviewers for IPCC special report on Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

The next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) special report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate will be published in September 2019 and APECS will be participating in the review process by coordinating an early career expert review group. We are therefore looking for early career researchers to help review sections of the report. Participation recognizes you not only as an early career expert, but is also an exciting opportunity to gain valuable insight and training in how the scientific review process of such a report is conducted.

We encourage members from various career stages to participate, from advanced Master students, PhD students, postdoctoral researchers to early career faculty members! (If you do not fit in these categories and are interested in applying, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a short explanation so we can determine eligibility.) Participants will be teamed up by area of expertise, and we will make sure that we partner those of you who have some experience with reviewing already with those who have never done this before.

If you want to participate, please fill out this online form, by no later than 15 January 2018 at 18:00 GMT. Accepted participants will be assigned to a chapter and contacted by the end of February.

The first round of reviews will take place from May through June of 2018, so applicants should make sure they have the necessary amount of time available during this period. You need to be intimately familiar with the recent literature in your field and will need to review roughly 10 pages of the special report. These are not anonymous reviews, so this means you will be individually credited for your contribution, and your comments will be made a part of the public record. All participants will be required to participate in an online training session provided during March and April 2018.

For further details on the general review process for the report go to: . If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Applications now open for UK-Russia early career events!

NERC_UKRussia_Flyer_02 (1).pngThe UK Polar Network invites applications from UK Arctic early career researchers (from PhD level to 10 years post PhD) to participate in and foster research links through collaborative workshops in the Russian Arctic.

These events are organised in collaboration with the UK Science & Innovation Network, APECS Russia, NERC Arctic Office and Lomonosov Moscow State University.

These events will stimulate new collaborative work between early career researchers based in the UK and Russia. The intended outcomes are capacity building, intellectual exchange, joint development programmes and networking. In essence, the aim is to develop the next generation of experts in Russian Arctic Science.

Workshops will be held at Moscow and Cambridge with travel and accommodation support available.

Application deadline is 5th January, 2018 and any additional enquiries can be addressed to the NERC Arctic Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information and the application form, please visit:

APECS-APPLICATE Webinar: Atmospheric-oceanic linkages

Applicate logo

9 January 2018 at 17:00 GMT

Speaker: Dr. Doug Smith (MetOffice, United Kingdom)

Registration Link

How does the Arctic influence mid-latitude weather and climate? What physical mechanisms play a role and how can we better model these processes? How does sea-ice loss affect the atmosphere and oceans in remote regions? Doug Smith, of the UK MetOffice, will discuss some of the science around these questions and how coordinated multi-model experiments can help to answer them. This webinar is the third in a series part of the EU-funded APPLICATE project. The APPLICATE project brings together a European consortium of scientists from different disciplines to advance our capability to predict the weather and climate in the Arctic and beyond. To find out more about the project go to:​.

Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A43
14473 Potsdam
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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