The XII Workshop APECS Portugal took place in Porto, the Invicta city, on November 30th, 2021. This was the return of presential events of APECS Portugal and this year we tried a new format, a hybrid model, at CIIMAR (Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research). The event received 30 participants presential and another 17 online, to celebrate the XII Workshop. For this edition, the theme chosen was “An Unexpected Journey - Polar Science in a Pandemic crisis” and the goal was to discuss the negative and positive effects of the pandemic on polar science expeditions, data collection, science outputs, networking and education; as well as lessons learnt.
In the morning, we had three speakers: PhD candidate Maria Vargas, Dr Andrés Barbosa and Dr Pjotr Elshout. Maria Vargas, a doctoral candidate in the Graduate Program in Biological Sciences at the UNIPAMPA, linked to the Brazilian Antarctic Program (PROANTAR), and a member of the APECS Brazil ExCom, was with us online and spoke about the hardship to go on a journey to Antarctica in a pandemic period. After that, and presential, we had the opportunity to hear Dr Andrés, Senior Researcher at the Spanish Council for Scientific Research in the Natural History Museum (Madrid) and member of several SCAR working groups, explaining the problem that these viruses can bring to the wildlife of polar regions and what we can’t do in the fieldwork in these conditions. Our last speaker of the morning was Dr Pjotr Elshout, Project Officer at the European Polar Board Secretariat, that spoke with us regarding the difficulties that Covid-19 brought to European polar research. To end the morning and to engage the participants from home with the presents, we had our networking moment with a Kahoot game. The game explored the knowledge about polar regions and APECS Portugal, with the winner having a reward.
After lunch, we had our last two talks with Dr Irina Gorodetskaya and Dr Philipp Assmy, both presential. Dr Irina, a polar meteorologist and climate scientist, studying the hydrological cycle in the Polar regions, presented us with a talk regarding the hardship of home office and schooling to organize two Polar expeditions in one season. Dr Philipp spoke about the challenges and strategies to cope with Arctic fieldwork during the pandemic. To close the XII Workshop, we had our traditional debate moderated by APECS Portugal members, where our speakers and the participants discussed the impacts that Covid-19 brought to the polar community, on a professional and personal level. The XII Workshop APECS Portugal was proudly supported by PROPOLAR (Portuguese Polar Project), APECS International and CIIMAR.
Photo credits and author: Hugo Guímaro