Want some news from Marion Island and SANAE?

 News from Marion Island

This month is the kickoff for the Marion Island newsletters – we will start with the May 2019 newsletter.

In this edition (May 2019)

  • – Meet the 76th Marion Island overwintering team
  • – See some photos of the team training
        • On the island:
        • – Take-over games and initiation
        • – Sealers’ 1st round island
        • – Meet the team’s fantastic sponsors
        • – and more…

News from SANAE IV, Antarctica

In this edition (September 2019)

  • – Meet the team’s Senior Meteorological Technician, Marvin Rankudu
      • – Find out more about:
        • – weather service
        • – clouds
        • – vehicles used at SANAE IV
        • – aurora australis
      • – September weather at SANAE IV
      • – and more…

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 10 October 2019

Marion Island JOBS – Applications OPEN

Job Title StationPeriodClosing Date Download Job Advert
Communications EngineerMarion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Electrical Engineer/Technician Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Diesel Mechanic Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Medical Orderly Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Field Assistant: Seabird Research x2Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Environmental Control OfficerMarion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Assistant Environmental Control OfficerMarion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Senior Meteorological Technician Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Assistant Meteorological Technician x2Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Field Assistant: Plant Ecology Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202125 October 2019Click here
Field Assistant: 2 x"Sealers" and 1x "Whaler"Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202121 October 2019 Click here
Field Assistant: Plant Ecology (wind effects)Marion Island April 2020 - May 2021 25 October 2019 Click here
Field Assistant: Seabird Research x2 (MAPRU)Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 2021 31 October 2019Click here

SANAE IV August 2019 Newsletter now available

SANAE58, Antarctica, Newsletters

In this edition:

  • Meet the RADAR Engineer from SANSA (South African National Space Agency), Travis Duck.
  • Learn all about the HF radar, neutron monitors, cosmic radiation and more…

SANAE 58, RADAE Engineer – Travis Duck.

 

Click here to download/view the SANAE IV Newsletter, August 2019 Edition.

Click here to view all the SANAE newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

  September 2019 at SANAE IV – Antarctica

Photo Credit: Jacques Robbertze

View Jacques Robbertze on the ALSA Archive.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 12 September 2019

Attention SCAR scientific community

Ant-ICON Science and Implementation Plan

Dear Colleagues,

At the end of July, Mecha and I traveled to Plovdiv, Bulgaria to participate in the SCAR Programme Planning Group Leaders Meeting, and present the draft Ant-ICON Science and Implementation Plan to the SCAR Executive Committee.

Both meeting were extremely useful, particularly with regard to identifying synergies between the developing SRPs, and receiving useful guidance and feedback on how the developing Ant-ICON Science and Implementation Plan could be improved.

During the meetings Mecha and I, together with some invaluable input from Daniela Liggett, Chandrika Nath and other attendees, revised the Ant-ICON S&I Plan. We have continued to work on incorporating feedback over the last few weeks, and  have now arrived at a near complete draft, which is attached for your further consideration.

Some sections still need a bit of work, but we feel that it is now at a stage where it can be disseminated more broadly to interested members of the SCAR scientific community and other stakeholders to raise the profile of this emerging initiative and hear any feedback that might be forthcoming. We’d also encourage you to disseminate this through your networks to interested colleagues.

Both the plan and an updated overview presentation have been uploaded to the Ant-ICON home page, and can be accessed using the following link under the Publications tab (https://scar.org/science/ant-icon/resources/).  Mecha and I will undertake the broader dissemination, through various SCAR mailing lists, directly to key policy end users and other interested stakeholders including NGOs.

Mecha and I also encourage you to disseminate this plan through your networks to help raise awareness and to ensure anyone who is interested in following progress can join the mailing list. I am currently compiling an informal mailing list of interested persons, so if people do indicate interest, please let them know they can contact me directly and I will add their names.

We have a number of tasks ahead of us over  the next few months as we aim to finalize the plan. This includes the completion of the Supporting Information that will accompany the S&I Plan, the preparation of a 2-page  ‘marketing document’ and finalization of the make-up of the proposed Steering Committee (see section D – Management in the attached). With regard to the latter, please let me know if you would like to express interest in any of the Steering Committee positions as we need to start a list of potential names as soon as possible.

We received considerable input again in the last round, and while it was sometimes challenging to incorporate everything, we think most people’s comments and suggestions have been addressed. Nevertheless, the Science and Implementation Plan is still a work in progress, so please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have further input.

We hope to have a final draft completed by the end of October. It is likely that most of the consultation between now and then will be electronic, however, Mecha and I will hold at least one meeting  in the margins of the CCAMLR meetings, which will be in Hobart from the 21 Oct-1 Nov 2019. Please let me know if you are likely to be in Hobart for these meetings and we will ensure that we include you in any correspondence regarding Ant-ICON discussions.

Many thanks once again for your interest and active engagement. It’s a pleasure to work with such a knowledgeable and enthusiastic planning group.

All the best

Aleks and Mecha

Dr. Aleks Terauds

Senior Research Scientist and Section Head |Biodiversity Conservation | Australian Antarctic Division | Kingston | Tasmania | Australia

Chief Officer – SCAR Standing Committee on the Antarctic Treaty System

P: +61 3 6232 3339 |E: aleks.terauds@gmail.com | Alt E: Aleks.Terauds@aad.gov.au

4th International sub-Antarctic Forum – registration opening soon

The 4th International sub-Antarctic Forum will be held in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia on 29-30 July 2020. Save the date in your calendars, and please feel free to circulate this information with your colleagues.

It will be a short forum over 2 days with opportunity abstract submission for short presentations on research, management, policy and science relevant to the sub-Antarctic. There will also be several keynote speakers, panel and large facilitated workshop on future challenges and opportunities for the sub-Antarctic.

It will be a wonderful Forum for researchers and students alike to come and share their findings and explore future opportunities. Some early career researcher travel assistance will be available.

Stay tuned for more information and updates via the website and Twitter @subant2020

Registrations and abstract submissions are yet to open.

 

Regards

Justine Shaw – Chair of the SCAR Action group “Integrated Science for the sub-Antarctic”

 

FROM THE WEBSITE

There is nothing sub about the sub-Antarctic!


In July 2020 the Tasmanian Government, with the support of the New Zealand Department of Conservation, is hosting the 4th International sub-Antarctic Forum.

Previous sub-Antarctic Forums have been mainly science focused.  The 4th Forum will be multi-disciplinary, encompassing science, policy, management, tourism and fishing, heritage.  It will bring together people passionate about the sub-Antarctic to discuss the challenges and pressures facing this special region, share knowledge and explore connections.

Already there has been international interest, and we are keen to ensure that as many countries, organisations and individuals with interests in the Sub Antarctic as possible hear about the Forum and have the opportunity to attend to make the most of the opportunity to cement existing relationships and develop new ones.

The forum will be held in the Antarctic gateway city of Hobart on 29-30 July 2020, immediately before SCAR/COMNAP, also being held in Hobart in 2020.

More details including registration will come in the next few months.

We would be grateful if you could spread the word within your networks.

New website for the South African Antarctic Club (SAAC)

The Committee for the 2019/20 year has established a new SAAC website which went public on 29 July 2019. The new website address is https://sa-antarctic-club.weebly.com .

Current and prospective new members can contact the SAAC through the Contacts Form provided on the website.

Want to become a member of SAAC?

What you need to know

The South African Antarctic Club is open to membership to those expeditioners who have overwintered at one or more of South Africa’s research stations on the Antarctic continent, on the sub-Antarctic Marion Island or South Atlantic Gough Island. Anybody else who have also visited any of these stations, or have an active interest in these places, are also welcome to apply for Associate Membership. A nominal once off fee is applicable to both membership categories. The SAAC meets annually to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and in celebration of Midwinter’s Day, if not on, as close as possible to 21 June.  A second get together, usually a braai, is sometimes also held during the summer.

 

Chair of the SA Antarctic Club for the 2019/2, Richard Skinner.

Edited by Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 15 August 2019

SANAE IV July 2019 Newsletter now available

In this edition:

Read more about the:

  • Mechanical Engineer and Technical Team Leader of S58;
  • wastewater treatment works at SANAE;
  • recreational activities at the base: Karaoke evenings at the South African National Antarctic Expedition station and more;
  • weather statistics of June 2019.

Team members of SANAE58 enjoying some outside time in the sun, after the long dark winter. L-R (Back): Travis Duck, Bongisipho Kuali, Jacques Robbertze, Mpati Boleme; (front) Dr. Salomé Odendaal, Tshimangadzo Munyai, Marvin Rankudu and Ewald Ferreira. Photo credit: Jacques Robbertze

Click here to download/view the SANAE IV Newsletter, July 2019 Edition.

Click here to view all the SANAE newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 15 August 2019

West Indian Ocean Governance and Exchange Network (WIOGEN)

Dear all

The West Indian Ocean Governance and Exchange Network (WIOGEN) is one of the MeerWissen initiatives and was launched earlier this month. WIOGEN is an opportunity to produce joint publications through the science exchanges, be involved in a science to policy event, training schools and virtual learning. The network activities will be driven by the needs of the region and its members.

The first conference will take place on the 7th and 8th of November 2019. Please fill in the survey to ensure that you are included in news about WIOGEN and to express your interest in attending the November event (it is a non-obligatory expression of interest).  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BLQ95Q3

Please click here for more information. We look forward to welcoming you to the network and working with our partners to improve ocean governance in the West Indian Ocean.  If you have any questions please feel free to email info@wiogen.org or visit the (under construction) website:  https://wiogen.org/

Best wishes

Shannon

(Representing implementing partners IOI-SA and Leibniz Centre for Tropical Research – ZMT)

Dr Shannon Hampton
International Ocean Institute – African Region
CBC Building, Kirstenbosch, Rhodes Drive, Newlands
0217998830
www.ioisa.org
https://www.facebook.com/IOISouthernAfrica/
http://howtosurvivephd.blogspot.com/

SANAE IV June 2019 Newsletter now available

SANAE58, Antarctica, Newsletters

In this edition:

  • Meet the Team Medical Doctor, Salomé Odendaal
  • Learn more about the medical facilities at the base
  • The ins and outs about waste management here at SANAE IV
  • What you want to know about cooking and a typical SANAE braai
  • Weather summary for the month and more…

 

Click here to download/view the SANAE IV Newsletter, June 2019 Edition

Most recent news from the team:

 

Click here to view all the SANAE newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 30 July 2019

Antarctica JOBS – APPLY NOW for SANAE 59

Apply now to be part of the 59th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) overwintering team!

Positions available:

Job TitleStation Period Closing DateDownload Job Advert
SANSA Volunteer Positions (x3) VIDEOAntarctica - SANAE IVDecember 2019 - February 202025 September 2019More info, click here!
Senior Meteorological Technician
VIDEO
Antarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
Closed
More info, click here!
Communications/Electronics Engineer
VIDEO
Antarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
ClosedMore info, click here!
Mechanical EngineerAntarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
ClosedMore info, click here!
Electrical Engineer/Technician
VIDEO
Antarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
ClosedMore info, click here!
Diesel Mechanic
VIDEO
Antarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
ClosedMore info, click here!
Medical Doctor
VIDEO
Antarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
ClosedMore info, click here!
RADAR Engineer - South African National Space AgencyAntarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
Closed
VLF Engineer - South African National Space AgencyAntarctica - SANAE IVDecember
2019 to January 2021
Closed

 

SANAE58 team member birthday – Salomé Odendaal

Salomé is the 58th SANAE Overwintering team’s Medical Doctor.

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish you a Happy Birthday.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 14 June 2019.

SANAE IV May 2019 Newsletter now available

SANAE58, Antarctica, Newsletters

In this Edition:

SANAE IV, Antarctica

Deputy Team Leader of SANAE 58, Mpati Boleme.

– Get to know the SANAE58 deputy team leader, Mpati Boleme.

– Learn more about the scientific work currently ongoing at SANAE IV

– See what was the weather like during the month of May 2019.

– Team gatherings

– Learn some facts about Antarctica

Click here to download/view the SANAE IV Newsletter, May 2019 Edition.

Click here to view all the SANAE newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

 

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 13 June 2019

 

 

 

Electrician needed – Gough Island 2019-2020

Call for all electricians, that consist of the minimum requirements for this position, to apply as soon as possible.

Please click on the link below for more information regarding this position:

Electrician – Gough (OC03.2019)

DEADLINE: 24 June 2019 

Please Contact Mr Willem Boshoff for more information – Telephone (021) 405 9418

 

Read more about Gough Island here.

Also view the inside of the base, where you will stay for 13 months.

Gough Photos

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 12 June 2019

 

Meteorological Technician position on Antarctica (Video)

The December 2019 – February 2021 positions for Antarctica will soon be advertised here. If you are interested in overwintering at the South African National Antarctic Expedition Station, SANAE IV, make sure you know all about the different positions available.

Note that this position at SANAE IV is not permanent and is based on a 15 month contract.

More about the Senior Meteorological Technician position for the South African Weather Service (SAWS) at SANAE IV…

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

  • National Weather Certificate or BSc Degree (Honours) in Natural Sciences or Previous Island Experience.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have been to the islands before.
  • Candidates must be willing to work shifts (both day and night shifts), and on public holidays in possible adverse weather conditions.
  • Candidates must be punctual, dedicated, precise and able to work in a team, as well as on their own.

DUTIES

  • Oversee and coordinate surface meteorological and atmospheric research project assigned by the Marine Section of SAWS.
  • Perform surface meteorological observations and maintain and verify all equipment at the remote station of SANAE IV.
  • Conduct quality control of data, report writing and asset control.
  • Assist other team members with logistical and administrative tasks associated with the general running of the base.
  • Conduct all duties in accordance with the rules, regulations and standards as set out by the South African Weather Service.

Watch this video and meet Meteorological Technicians previously (of the 57th SANAE Overwintering Team, Season: December 2017 – March 2019) and currently (of the 58th SANAE Overwintering Team (Season: December 2018 – February 2020) at SANAE IV.

Contact Mardené de Villiers or Tammy Morris (SAWS) for more information regarding this position – Tel: (021) 935 5700


 

Over the next few weeks we will share more information about the different positions and you can also watch videos of previous overwintering personnel at SANAE.

Subscribe to the ALSA YouTube Channel to make sure you do not miss any new videos on our channel.

 

Senior Meteorological Technician for SANAE IV minimum requirements and duties are taken from official job advert for this position (Department of Environmental Affairs and South African Weather Service).

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 10 June 2019

Marion75 team photo and logo now uploaded

Marion75, M75, Marion Island, Overwintering Team

The 75th Marion Island Overwintering team departed on 06 April 2018 (click here to read more) and returned to Cape Town on the 15th of May 2019 (VIDEO).

Click on the link below and view their official team photo among the previous Marion Island overwintering teams.

Also visit the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive to view the team photo or team logo.

Marion Island Team Photos

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 06 June 2019.

Gough Island Restoration Programme – do you want to be part of the team?

Physically hard working individuals and communications engineer needed!!

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) announced the availability of positions for the Gough Island Restoration Programme (GIRP). This programme is planned to commence in 2020 and aims to get rid of the bird-eating mice on Gough Island.

If you are interested in more information or if you would like to join the team, download this document – Gough Island Restoration Programme baiting team member application briefing.

Applicants need to fill out the application at the end of the document and email to pmcclelland@xtra.co.nz.

Note that the selection of the team is likely to be in September 2019, hence submit your application as soon as possible.

Feel free to contact Pete McClelland or Richard Switzer for further queries.

–          Pete McClelland (baiting team) – pmcclelland@xtra.co.nz

–          Richard Switzer (aviculture team) Richard.Switzer@rspb.org.uk

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 31 May 2019

SANAE IV April 2019 Newsletter now available

SANAE58, Antarctica, Newsletters

In this Edition:

– Get to know the SANAE58 team leader, Jacques Robbertze

– Have you ever heard of the ‘smelly’ and wondered how this ice melting system works?

Click here to download The Edurance (SANAE IV Newsletter), March 2019 Edition.

SANAE58

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 17 May 2019

 

Attention all early career scientists

The information below was sent through by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.

SCAR Fellowship Scheme, partnerships and new opportunities in 2019

Fellowship logo

The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) have been working together for many years to support talented early-career researchers, scientists, engineers, environmental managers, and other professionals to strengthen international capacity and cooperation in fields such as science support and facilitation, environmental management implementation, and climate, biodiversity, conservation, humanities and astrophysics research by way of an annual funding opportunity.

For 2019, these Antarctic organisations are joined by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), who will each support additional Antarctic-related fellowships.

SCAR Launches Antarctic Fellowship Opportunities for 2019

SCAR today launches its 2019 Antarctic-related Fellowships for early-career researchers. SCAR will offer 5 to 6 fellowships of up to USD $15,000 each for 2019, with additional support for the scheme having been provided by India, Korea and France. A new SCAR/WMO Fellowship is also available in 2019 as detailed below. The Fellowships enable early-career researchers to join a project team from another country, opening up new opportunities and often creating partnerships that last for many years and over many Antarctic field seasons. The deadline for fellowship applications is 17 July 2019.

Additional opportunities in 2019 through the SCAR Fellowship scheme

For 2019 there are a number of extra opportunities through the SCAR scheme, with some restrictions on applicability but using the standard application process for SCAR Fellowships:

  • India is providing support to fund one full SCAR Fellowship, with France providing a contribution to the Fellowship funds.
  • The Republic of Korea will also contribute to one Fellowship to be allocated to an applicant from a country which has been under-represented within the SCAR Fellowship scheme to date.
  • For the new SCAR/WMO Fellowship, the WMO and SCAR will jointly fund one Fellowship for applicants from a WMO country who meet the Fellowship eligibility criteria of the WMO.

COMNAP and IAATO have already launched their Fellowship scheme for 2019 and CCAMLR launch their Scholarship scheme with two deadlines in 2019. Details are available at : https://www.scar.org/community-news/fellowship-opportunities-launched/

Background information:

The SCAR scheme is launched today, noting the complementary schemes of our partners – the COMNAP and IAATO Fellowship Scheme and the CCAMLR Scientific Scholarship Scheme. Full details of these schemes are available on their respective websites below.

For more information on SCAR Fellowships, visit the SCAR website at:
www.scar.org/awards/fellowships/information/

For information on the COMNAP and IAATO Fellowships, visit the COMNAP website at:
www.comnap.aq/SitePages/fellowships.aspx

For information on CCAMLR Scholarships, visit the CCAMLR website at:
www.ccamlr.org/en/science/ccamlr-scientific-scholarship-scheme

Marion Island take-over coming to an end

Time on the island is rapidly running out for all passengers returning to Cape Town, this includes everyone except the 76th Marion Island Overwintering Team. The take-over scientists are wrapping up field work and packing containers for back-loading  started at this research station.

The first containers were transported to the research and supply vessel, S.A. Agulhas II. Watch the video below to see how a container is transported by helicopter.

These last few days are bitter sweet on the island. The 75th overwintering team returning to Cape Town have to say goodbye to the place they called home for 13 months. A place that was at first maybe something to get used to, and now a very special memory that will last a lifetime. For many this might be the last time they get to visit this pristine island in the Southern Ocean, but for the 76th overwintering team the departure of the vessel is something to look forward to, as they will be able to unpack their personals in their own rooms and settling in, preparing for the year ahead.

The vessel is expected to depart from Marion Island on the 9th of May and the expected time of arrival at East Pier, Cape Town Harbour, is 16 May 2019. The longer return voyage will be used toward oceanographic research on transects between the Prince Edward Islands and Cape Town.

Bon Voyage, see you soon!

 

Photo Credit: Daniela Monsanto (PhD Candidate, University of Johannesburg)

Video Credit: Ultimate Aviation Group

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 May 2019

Announcement: 4th International Forum on the sub-Antarctic

Date: 29 – 30 July 2020

“Come and discuss the challenges facing the sub-Antarctic in a changing world and share ideas for the future”.

Sessions include:

  • climate
  • conservation
  • biosecurity
  • geoscience
  • tourism
  • fishing
  • heritage
  • connectivity
  • management challenges.

Website: Click here.

Follow subant2020 on Twitter!

UPDATE: SCAR Open Science Conference 2020

The information below was sent through by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Secretariat. .

Preparations are well underway for the 2020 SCAR meetings and Open Science Conference to be held in Hobart, Australia in July-August 2020. The COMNAP Annual General Meeting will run concurrently with SCAR and the organisers are working to schedule events to encourage participation across the two groups.  The OSC theme ‘Antarctic Science: Global Connections’ highlights the scientific connections between Antarctica and the global system and collaboration in our Antarctic science community.

The Local Organising Committee are working closely with the SCAR and COMNAP Secretariats on meeting preparations including an excellent program of conference and side events. Planning for SCAR COMNAP 2020 includes efforts to minimise waste, encourage sustainable resource management and to foster participation inclusion and diversity.

The first pre-conference circular is now available and outlines some key pieces of information about SCAR COMNAP 2020. This includes the conference structure and indicative dates for abstract submission and registration.

The International Science Organising Committee has also developed a draft list of sessions based on input from the SCAR community – it is available for comment on the SCAR COMNAP 2020 website. Comments, suggested changes, proposals for additional sessions and suggestions for sessions to be merged together should be made to info@scar.org by 28 June 2019.

For more information, please check the SCAR COMNAP 2020 website or contact the SCAR COMNAP 2020 Project Manager, Rhonda Bartley at the Australian Antarctic Division – email: SCARCOMNAP2020@aad.gov.au

We look forward to seeing you all in Hobart next year!

Kind regards,

The SCAR Secretariat

SANAP students graduating

Congratulations to Daniela Monsanto and Mthoko Twala, two SANAP students completing their Masters degrees, both with cum laude, within the field of biology.

Daniela completed her degree at the University of Johannesburg, under the supervision of Prof Bettine van Vuuren. This Masters was part of the SANAP project: Biocomplexity: Understanding biological patterns in space and time. Daniela examined fine-scale spatial genetic patterns in one of the most dominant and ecologically significant soil organisms across the sub-Antarctic region, the Collembola Cryptopygus antarcticus. Her work highlighted a genetic discontinuity, which when overlaid onto a detailed geomorphological map of the area, coincided with a 3 meter ridge (for Collembola, this height is equivalent to a human scaled to 2.5 times the height of Table Mountain).

Mthoko completed his degree at the University of Pretoria, under the supervision of Dr Michelle Greve. This Masters was part of the SANAP project: Invasions in the changing sub-Antarctic. Mthoko assessed whether the invasive plant, Sagina procumbens, disproportionately benefits other invasive species on Marion Island. He found mixed results, with invasive plants necessarily benefitted from Sagina, but invasive collembolans benefitting more than native collembolans.

Congratulations to the students, as well as the supervisors.

See below these achievements announced on social media.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 30 April 2019

Marion Island March 2019 newsletter now available

Greetings from the M75 team to all our friends and families!

Where have the days gone?! March, our last full month alone on Marion, has flown by! For many of the field assistants, the work has slowed down substantially as the final tasks are being ticked off. For others, there is still quite a lot that needs to be squeezed into these final days. And, on the other hand, there are some (including the sealers) whose work has continued uninterrupted as is the case with base personnel who need to keep the ball rolling until we’ve boarded the ship home.

In between our duties however, the big clean-up has begun. All the huts have been tackled by the field assistants and back at base everyone is pitching in to make sure that everything is ready for take-over. Apart from the general base skivvy, we have all been busy packing up our own rooms too; as the total population of Marion explodes from 24 to over a hundred (with all the scientists and maintenance crew), we will soon be bunking with each other and the new M76 team while they find their feet.

Outside, island life goes on, oblivious to our bustling preparations. The wandering albatross which dot the landscape continue with their inredible life cycle and the fur-seal pups are venturing further and further from comfort as they grow at a rate. The winter leaves sap in the fading sunlight and the mountains are beginning to try on their winter coats.

We are sad to announce that this edition of The Wanderer (March 2019) will in all likelihood be our last. The next few weeks are undoubtedly going to be very chaotic and there will be little time to spare before we board the S.A. Agulhas II to go home. It has been a massive privilege to bring you these insights to our fantastic adventure in this paradise! We hope that you’ve enjoyed them as we have and that these newsletters can become part of M75’s legacy and serve to inspire future expeditions and explorers!

Authors: Elsa van Ginkel (Editor) and James Burns (Co-Editor), 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team, 16 April 2019 (received 13 April 2019)

Click here to view all the Marion Island newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

Antarctic Earth Scientists take note…

SCAR Event Announcement
XIII International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences

The abstract submission deadline for the XIII International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences has been extended to 21 April 2019.

Please go to the event website (click here) for more information.

 

New South Africa National Committee for SCAR

Steven Chown

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) President, Prof Steven Chown from Monash University, with some representatives at the meeting of the South Africa National Committee for SCAR.

South Africa has been involved in Antarctic research since the geophysical year of 1957. The first 10 years of South Africa’s science and research in the Antarctic is highlighted in an article by  DG Kingwell, at that stage the secretary of the South African Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SASCAR).

The Antarctic Research of South Africa is  part of The International Science Council (ISC), South Africa.

South Africa is a national member of ISC through the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The South African ISC -Secretariat serves the scientific community and the ISC scientific unions and affiliates to which South Africa adheres. The SA ISC Secretariat provides support and organisational services for the ISC National Board of SA, and to the SA ISC National Committees to advance South Africa’s position in international platforms. The total membership of these committees is in excess of 200 scientists.  Approximately 100 South Africans serve on ICS-related commissions and working groups. The ISC activities in South Africa are focused on the following principals:

  • Science-for-policy: Stimulate and support national and international scientific research and scholarship, and to communicate science that is relevant to national and international policy issues;
  • Policy-for-science: Promote developments that enable science to contribute more effectively to major issues in the national and international public domain;
  • Science-for-society: Stimulate science engagement with society;
  • Scientific freedom and responsibility: Support the free and responsible practice of science;
  • Adherence: Support committees through payment of ISC membership dues.

South Africa Science and Research is also part of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) where the committee members will represent South Africa at SCAR meetings.

The new National Committee has been announced  in a letter by Tracy Klarenbeek – Professional Officer, Knowledge Advancement and Support (KAS) and their first meeting took place at Stellenbosch University on 6 March 2019.

Dear SANAP Community,

It gives me great pleasure in sharing the names of the individuals selected to represent us all at SCAR. Of course, these individuals will rely heavily on inputs from the entire community, so I sincerely hope that you will be available to support them in their endeavours. Members of the community that are not an the steering committee are still strongly encouraged to participate in SCAR and SCAR-related activities. The DST and the NRF are planning a follow-up meeting with the whole community, hopefully by the middle of the year (academic and other schedules permitting), so as to give feedback on a number of initiatives ongoing that will possibly impact on us all, including plans for current and future SA participation in SCAR. We look forward to seeing you there.

The final list is below, the details of which will be communicated to SCAR in due course.  Professor Bettine van Vuuren was nominated as the Committee Chair, Tracy Klarenbeek as Vice-Chair and Dr Gilbert Siko representing the Department of Science and technology.

Life Sciences Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Thulani Makhalanyane (South African Representative)
  • Bettine van Vuuren
  • Anne Treasure

Physical Sciences Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Sandy Thomalla
  • Sarah Fawcett (South African Representative)
  • Stefan Lotz

Geosciences Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Christel Hansen
  • Werner Nel
  • Geoff Grantham (South African Representative)

Social Sciences and Humanities Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Anché Louw
  • Ria Olivier (South African Representative)
  • Charne Lavery

Please give this committee your support in their efforts to take South African science to the world via SCAR.

 

 

ETA of the S.A. Agulhas II – 15 March 2019

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

The S.A. Agulhas II is currently on her way home, after being in the Antarctica waters for 3 months. Onboard is the returning 57th SANAE (South African National Antarctic Expedition) overwintering team, 2018/2019 SANAE take-over personnel, Weddell Sea Expedition members and ship based scientists of different South African universities.

Expected time of arrival (ETA): 15 March 2019, around 08:30

MORE DETAIL:
The S.A. Agulhas II will arrive in Cape Town at 2am, tomorrow morning.

The vessel will then proceed to Landing Wall 1 for inward clearance and shifting in to east pier around 08:30.

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 14 March 2019

Marion Island January 2019 newsletter now available

Marion Island, Newsletter, The Wanderer, Overwintering Team

Greetings to the friends, families and followers of the M75 team!

Marion Island, Newsletter, The Wanderer, Overwintering Team

Greetings from our sub-antarctic paradise!

The first month of this new year has come and gone much too quickly. The decorations stayed up long after the festive season ended and the M75 team took as long as possible to wind down after all the fun. We had some pretty memorable parties and amazing feasts!

January was a proper summer month on Marion. We had a record number of pleasantly warm and windstill days which have been great for working in the field. The field assistants have been out and about, making the most of the sunny and not-so-windy days. The island is alive with courting albatross, hundreds of penguin chicks, young birds starting to take off, brand new fur seal pups, etc. Back at base, we have been kept entertained with movie nights, some birthdays and many braai’s.

We hope you enjoy The Wanderer (January 2019) and that all the stories and photos give you a better idea of the fantastic things we’ve been experiencing!

Kind regards,
the Wanderer Editing team

 

Click here to view all the Marion Island newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

 

Authors: Elsa van Ginkel (Editor) and James Burns (Co-Editor), 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team, 27 February 2019 (received 21 February 2019)

Marion Islander taking 2nd place in Young Science Communicators Competition

Marike Louw, Marion Island, Science Communication, Young Science Communicators Competition

This competition, initiative of SAASTA (the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement), is a great way of encouraging young scientists in developing skills to communicate science to the broader public. Doing this in your mother tongue can be a difficult task as not all scientific words can be translated and this skill was also tested in this competition, as 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Marike Louw, Marion Island, Science Communication, Young Science Communicators Competition

Marike Louw (MSc, CIB DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University) is currently one of the botanical field assistants on the 75th Marion Island Overwintering team.

One of the SANAP overwintering personnel on Marion Island, Marike Louw, sees the need to communicate science and the setup of the scientific environment on Marion Island. Marike is one of the four female botanical field assistants on the island and her job (since April 2018 until May 2019) is to estimate percentage vegetation in 3x3m plots, which is scattered all over the island. This data is gathered for a SANAP project, i.e “Invasions in the changing sub-Antarctic“, run by Dr Michelle Greve of the University of Pretoria. This job entails a lot of hiking and hard work in challenging weather conditions, which she is totally up for. Read more about Marike and the other three botanists in the November issue The Wanderer, the Marion Island Newsletter (Click here).

The competition was divided into five categories; article, open, indigenous language, video and audio. Marike entered for three categories i.e. article, video and audio. She was awarded with 2nd place in two of the three categories (video and audio). Check out the video and you will truly be inspired by the enthusiasm and love for science that the Marion Island field assistants have. Marike is also very proud to be among a team of 24 overwinterers on Marion Island, where all 11 official South African languages are spoken (listen to the audio).

Video Category (English):

Title: Denizens of Marion Island | Theme: Science transforming Society

Intended platform: Online education platform

Audio Category:

Title: Rainbow Nation on a Sub-Antarctic Island  | Theme: Science transforming Society

Intended platform: Education South African podcast or a radio platform
for a broad science-interested audience

 

Read more about this competition here.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 26 February 2019

 

SEAmester 2019 Applications now open

Call for student and lecturer applications

Applications are now open for LECTURER and STUDENT participation on the 2019 SEAmester-South Africa’ Class Afloat Programme.

The Department of Science and Technology requires platforms to “attract young researchers to the region and retain them by exciting their interest in aspects of global change”. SEAmester introduces marine science as an applied and cross-disciplinary field to students. Its long‐term vision is aimed at building capacity within the marine sciences by co‐ordinating cross‐disciplinary research projects through a highly innovative programme. The strength of SEAmester is that postgraduate students combine theoretical classroom learning with the application of this knowledge through ship-based and hands-on research. The state‐of‐the‐art research vessel, S.A. Agulhas II, provides the ideal teaching and research platform for SEAmester; its size, comfort and shipboard facilities allow large groups of students and lecturers to productively interact over a period of 10 days.  The 2019 SEAmester Voyage will team up with SAEON’s ASCA (Agulhas System Climate Array) scientific programme on  a 10 day voyage extending across the Agulhas Current.

The tentative dates for SEAmester IV are 1-11 July 2019.  Please find enclosed application forms for either LECTURER or STUDENT participation as well as a brief description on SEAmester. For further information please refer to www.SEAmester.co.za or contact Prof Isabelle Ansorge on Isabelle.Ansorge@uct.ac.za

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS : 5 APRIL 2019

 

SAEON’s ASCA (Agulhas System Climate Array) scientific programme

Gough Island Overwintering JOBS

Gough Island

Gough IslandThe next Gough Island Overwintering Expedition will depart from Cape Town in September 2019. This will be the 65th Gough Island overwintering team who will return to Cape Town in October 2020.

Positions currently advertised:

  • Medical Orderly
  • Electrician
  • Diesel Mechanic
  • Communications Engineer
  • Senior Meteorological Technician
  • Assistant Meteorological Assistant (2 posts)

If you are interested in applying to overwinter, please click here.

Please note that applications close between 04 and 14 March 2019.

Please download the PDF advert of the position you are interested in and follow the application instructions as set out in the advert.

Read more:

Recent article (Afrikaans) about the Gough63 team (Click here).

Click here and here for more information on Gough Island (English).

Photo Credit: Tom Mc Sherry

Marion Island December newsletter now available

Marion Island, Newsletters, sub-Antarctic, Overwintering Team

Greetings to the friends, families and followers of the M75 team!

Marion Island, Newsletters, sub-Antarctic, Overwintering Team

The last month of 2018 was a memorable one! Starting the festivities early in the month with decorations, the excitement built up steadily to Christmas day and we had an amazing time! Movie marathons, fun teamwork in the kitchen, potjies, presents, a secret santa and more made for a jolly season indeed. Unfortunately no snow on Christmas but we enjoyed some great sunny and calm days instead, summer finally arrived!

The team hasn’t stopped working and, between all the celebrations, fieldworkers have been out and about with lots to be done as the breeding season continues. Everything is still running smoothly at base although there is a definite mindset shift in the team as takeover approaches.

We apologise for the delayed distribution but we hope you all enjoy our latest edition of the Wanderer (December 2018)! We wish everyone the best for the upcoming year and thank you once again for supporting us from afar!

Kind regards,
the Wanderer Editing team

Click here to view all the Marion Island newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

Author: James Burns, 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team (Meteorological Observer), 05 February 2019 (received 12 January 2019)

SANAE58 team member birthday – Bongisipho Kuali

SANAE58

Bongisipho Kuali is the 58th SANAE Overwintering team’s Mechanical Engineer.

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish you a Happy Birthday. May you have a fantastic birthday in Antarctica!

SANAE58

Click here…

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 04 February 2019.

SANAE58 team member birthday – Jacques Robbertze

Jacques Robbertze is one of the team’s two Diesel Mechanics. I believe that this job on Antarctica will truly be unlike any other job you’ve ever had. Good luck with the year ahead.

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish you a happy second birthday within SANAP.

Click here…

SANAE58

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 29 January 2019.

Happy Birthday SANAE58 team member – Marvin Rankudu

SANAE58

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish you a Happy Birthday Marvin.

Marvin is the team’s Senior Meteorological Technician, sending daily weather data to the South African Weather Service.

Click here…

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 15 January 2019.

SANAE58 team member birthday – Ewald Ferreira

This will be Ewald’s 3rd birthday on Antarctica. He was also part of S42 and S56. Ewald has also overwintered twice on Marion Island, as part of M61 and M72.

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish you a Happy Birthday.

SANAE58

Click here

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 21 December 2018.

Marion Island November newsletter now available

M75, Marion Island, Newsletters

Greetings to the friends, families and followers of the M75 team!

M75, Marion Island, Newsletters

November has swept by in a whirlwind of activity! The elephant seal breeding season has come to an end with a record number of new born pups but there has been no time to rest for the sealers as the fur seal population begins to boom. The birders have been busy non-stop with penguins, albatross and petrels all incubating eggs or raising chicks. The botanists have been traversing the landscape in search of the often elusive vegetation and there are even a few flowers brightening up the landscape as you’ll soon read.

Back at base, things are running smoothly and we are all getting into the festive spirit as Christmas approaches. Colourful decorations and even a couple of Christmas trees have considerably livened up some of our more frequented living areas. The weather, although windy as ever, has definitely been warmer on average and more sunny which has provided great opportunities to be out in the field for work or play.

We have tried to capture some of the highlights in this month’s edition of the Wanderer (November 2018) and hope you all enjoy reading the stories and checking out the photos of this amazing place and it’s amazing inhabitants!

Kind regards,
the Wanderer Editing team

Click here to view all the Marion Island newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

Author: James Burns, 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team (Meteorological Observer), 10 December 2018

Antarctica Day – 01 December 2018

– Commemorating the agreement of the Antarctic Treaty –

On the 1st of December 1959, 12 Nations (including South Africa, the only African signatory) signed the Antarctic Treaty agreeing to 14 commands, including that Antarctica will be used for peaceful purposes only. Today, Antarctica is seen as “a natural reserve, devoted to peace and SCIENCE”.

South Africa has been part of scientific exploration in the Antarctic since 1960, the year of the first South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE). Scientist travel annually with South Africa’s research vessel, the S.A. Agulhas II, to the Antarctic. Once the vessel has reached the ice shelf, cargo and passengers are swung over with the ship’s crane. The helicopters onboard also assist in this regard. Passengers then travel about 200km to SANAE IV, which is situated in Dronning Maud Land (71°S, 2°W) where an overwintering team consisting of 10 people are housed.

South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) – this is the name of the South African government’s programme for research in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions.

You might be wondering how we will be celebrating Antarctica Day/Month – keep an eye on Antarctic Legacy of South Africa’s Facebook Page or Instagram as from Monday (3 December 2018).


The Antarctic Treaty document can be downloaded  here.

Also check out this book: Celebrating Antarctica; A Treaty Protecting a Continent. Authors:  Julie Hambrook Berkman & Allen Pope

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 01 December 2018.

Call Announcement – Belmont Forum

Belmont, Call Announcement, Oceans2018

Belmont, Call Announcement, Oceans2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Belmont Forum, in collaboration with Future Earth and JPI Oceans, is launching a call for proposals on “Transdisciplinary Research for Ocean Sustainability”. The call is aiming at bringing together researchers and other expertise across the globe to innovate solutions to accelerate sustainable use of oceans and minimize the effects from global change (www.bfgo.org).

Call Timeline:

  • Call Opens: 29 October 2018
  • Pre-Registration Open: 12 November 2018
  • Pre-Registration Closes: 31 January 2019 23:59 UTC
  • Full Proposals Open: April 2019
  • Full Proposals Close: August 2019

Click here for more information.

(All call announcements will be placed under the Research Tab – Latest Calls).

2019 SANAP Postgrad Positions

Completing an MSc or PhD within the South African National Antarctic Programme can be something out of the ordinary.

Are you interested in the sub-Antarctic, Antarctic or the Southern Ocean?

Keep an eye out for related postgrad positions here.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, 22 October 2018

Day 2 of the S.A. Agulhas II Mini-seminar

SA Agulhas II

Today is the second and last day of the S.A. Agulhas II Mini-Seminar, held in Stellenbosch.

We aim to dig deeper into the technical side of things today, looking at: ice measurements and navigation, vibration and vessel motion. The proposed Polar Observatory as well as robotics and related topics will also be tackled.

Follow ALSA on social media (#DIGSAA2)

S.A. Agulhas II Mini-seminar

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, 18 October 2018

Celebrating SA’s Polar Heritage

As South Africans we celebrate our Heritage during the month of September. Also, during the second last week of September all over the globe researchers celebrate ‘International Polar Week’. In 2017 Antarctic Legacy of South Africa came up with a slogan to combine the two celebrations: “Celebrating South Africa’s Polar Heritage’.

This slogan is to remind all South Africans of our involvement in the Antarctic region since 1947/1948, when South Africa Annexed the sub-Antarctic Marion and Prince Edward Islands. In 1955 the first South African (Hannes la Grange) set foot on the Antarctic Continent and the foundation was laid for all future South African Antarctic expeditions. On 3 December 1959 South Africa’s first Antarctic overwintering team (South African National Antarctic Expedition – SANAE1) departed from Cape Town Harbour on the Polarbjørn.

This year South Africa’s Polar Heritage will be celebrated by four events (three organised and hosted by APECS South Africa and one event hosted by Iziko Museums of South Africa):

2018 Polar Heritage Celebrations (Events)

OrganiserEvent Location Date More information
APECS-SATalk: CHEMTAX determination of southern ocean phytoplankton distribution and adaptation.Stellenbosch University, Geology Building, de Kock Venue (room 1004), 13:00 - 13:5017 September Click here
APECS-SASeries of talks that involves the sub-Antarctic Marion Island and Antarctica. University of Pretoria, Geography building, (Hatfield campus),
12:30-13:20
17 - 21 September Click here
APECS-SATalk: Life on Marion Island and Stellenbosch's legacy in Antarctic research.Stellenbosch University, Department of Botany and Zoology, Room 206 (The Broom), 13:00 - 14:0021 September Click here
Iziko Museums of South Africa
(ALSA supplied material)
Antarctic related activities in the Marion Island Exhibition area (ground floor).Iziko Museum - Cape Town 24 September Click here

Why is ‘Polar Week’ celebrated in September (and also in March)?

“The equinoxes in September and March are the only time when everywhere on earth the day length is 12 hours, a perfect opportunity to celebrate the poles on a global scale!” (APECS – Association of Polar Early Career Scientists).

 

Click here to see where Antarctic Legacy of South Africa was in involved in 2017.

 

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 14 September 2018

 

UPDATE: The S.A. Agulhas II has departed this morning

SA Agulhas II

SA Agulhas II

All passengers and crew on-board the S.A Agulhas II have gone through customs and the ship departed from Cape Town harbour mid-morning today, 07 September 2018.

Destination: Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island.

Please click here to view the original voyage schedule – dates might change due to late departure.

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 07 September 2018

 

UPDATE: Sailing time for the S.A. Agulhas II not finalised

The S.A. Agulhas II will not be leaving the harbour today.

This sailing schedule will be amended as soon as we have more information.

 

Gough Island/ Tristan da Cunha S.A. Agulhas Voyage Schedule 2018

DESTINATIONETD CPTETA BASEETD BASEETA CPTREMARKS
Tristan da Cunha06/09/201814/09/2018Voyage to Tristan da Cunha.
60 Hour stop-over to discharge cargo and passengers
Gough Island15/09/2018Voyage to Gough Island
Offload passengers/cargo/fuel
Buoy run21/09/20186 Day buoy deployment
Gough Island27/09/201802/10/2018Back-load cargo/passengers
Tristan da Cunha03/10/201806/10/201811/10/201848 Hour stop-over at Tristan, back-load cargo/passengers.
Voyage to Cape Town
S.A. Agulhas II Voyage Schedule - Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

 

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 06 September 2018

Southern Ocean Region Panel (SORP) seeks AFRICAN members

SCAR NEWS

SCAR NEWSThe CLIVAR/CliC/SCAR Southern Ocean Region Panel (SORP) seeks nominations for four new members (self-nominations are welcome).

The panel is in particular need of nominees possessing expertise in:

  • global climate/Earth-system modelling;
  • open ocean measurements;
  • sea ice remote sensing;
  • sea-going chemical oceanography;

The inclusion of representation from across the nations and regions that participate in Southern Ocean climate science is a priority. At least one new member from Africa and from Asia are needed for this round of nominations.

SORP’s terms of reference are given here: http://www.clivar.org/clivar-panels/southern

Nominations (including self-nominations) are through this link: http://www.clivar.org/news/open-call-new-clivar-members-1

The panel has in-person meetings every 18 months or so, the next one is due in 2020. SORP has video conferences about every 3-4 months, and members do a lot of their work by email.

Current activities include contributing to OceanObs19 papers, as well as regular reporting to CLIVAR, CliC and SCAR on ocean and climate research for the Southern Ocean.

The process of nominations is that they are collated by CLIVAR and then passed to the co-chairs to short-list. CLIVAR, CliC, and SCAR then make the final decisions on the members, taking into account balance issues such as geographic location, gender, and range of disciplinary expertise.

For more information about panel activities and the expectations for panel members, please contact one of the panel co-chairs, Inga Smith (inga.smith@otago.ac.nz) and Riccardo Farneti (rfarneti@ictp.it).

For more information, please visit the SORP website.

 

Source: [scar-news] Call for nominations to Southern Ocean Region Panel, 23 August 2018.

Dr Gansen Pillay statement at 5th SANAP Symposium

FIFTH SANAP SYMPOSIUM : OPENING REMARKS (13 August 2018)

Gansen Pillay PhD

 

DCEO: Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA)

 

Distinguished Participants

It is a pleasure and privilege to provide some Opening Remarks on behalf of the National Research Foundation (NRF) of SA on the occasion of the 5th SANAP Symposium jointly hosted by CPUT and SANSA.  This afternoon, I would like to focus on four dimensions.

Firstly, I would like to focus on this Symposium and its importance.  Secondly, I would like to explore the strategic positioning of SANAP and its related research areas in the context of a global research agenda.  Thirdly, we will share with you the latest information relating to the funding of SANAP by the NRF.  And finally, I would like to focus on training the next generation of researchers, viz., our postgraduate students.

Our sincere congratulations to the Conference Organisers for conceptualizing the content and themes for this Symposium.  Hermanus as a venue could not have been more ideal venue given the themes of this meeting.  This Symposium signifies a meeting of the oceans and space, each looking at the other through different lenses, yet focusing on the common good of responsiveness, relevance and sustainability.

We take the opportunity of congratulating Prof Isabelle Ansorge and her joint authors for the timely article in the South African Journal of Science (SAJS) titled “SEAmester – SA’s first class afloat”. It intersects the Global Change Grand Challenge and draws on Operation Phakisa.  As you may be aware, one of NRF’s National Research Facilities (NFs), viz., the SA institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) is a partner in this initiative.  This goes a long way towards accelerating NRF’s objective of not just providing NFs but National Research Infrastructure Platforms (NRIPs).

We would also like to commend SANAP on its new SANAP portal and website (www.sanap.ac.za), the Antarctic Legacy Platform (http://blogs.sun.ac.za/antarcticlegacy/).  It is current and informative and its presence on Facebook and other social media platforms is very encouraging.

The public lecture on ‘South Africa’s legacy within the Antarctic region’ being presented this evening is timely and critical to the public understanding of science.

This symposium provides delegates the opportunity to present their research within the Southern Ocean, Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions.

Interwoven into the fabric of the Symposium is a rich tapestry of complementary themes on (i) A window into geospace; (ii) Southern Oceans in the coupled ocean; (iii) Carbon-climate links and geotraces; (iv) Ecosystem functioning and the response to global change; (v) Biodiscovery and biotechnology; (vi) Earth and living systems; (vii) Paleosciences and human history; and (viii) Innovation, technology and engineering.  A research canvas of this nature offers enormous possibilities.

Given the aforementioned, I would like to move to the second dimension of my Opening Remarks, viz., the strategic positioning of SANAP research in the global research agenda.  One of the hallmarks of any successful organization or company like Apple is the ability to respond to change.  Those who adapt to change, survive.  Those who do not, perish.  A systems thinking approach is essential.

When one looks at the various themes of this Symposium its main focus is on interactions and the ability to respond to change.  So what exactly happens in the Southern Oceans and Space?  Is there a constant quest for dynamic equilibrium and sustainability?  Is there a symphony at play that is being orchestrated and conducted by global climate change?  What are SA’s geographic and competitive advantages?  In responding to how we position SANAP, we have to accept that we cannot be everything to everyone.  So what is it that we do that is unique or what is it that we do exceptionally well?  More importantly, what should we stop doing?

In positioning our research there are some aspects that we must factor.  These include, inter alia, how do we plan for impact?  How do we manage impact?  What is the potential for translational research?  What are the alignments to national priorities, the draft White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), the NDP, Agenda 2063, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the World in 2050, the Belmont Forum, Future Earth, etc.  Would Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics come into play? What about quantum computing?  Machine learning?  How would you be dealing with Big Data?  Do you have the capacity to deal with Big Data?  I leave you with these questions as you contemplate the future of your research during this Symposium.

Thirdly, over the next three years, the NRF has made the following investments in SANAP:

  • 29 grant holders:
    • 23 rated: 3A-rated, 6 B-rated, 2 P-rated, importantly 4 Y-rated
    • 16 female; 13 male
    • Currently, only 4 grant holders are Black which is an are that requires attention and intervention
  • There is growing evidence of young talent, especially black and female, moving up through the ranks. Many of SANAP’s early career researchers were students supported though this programme.  But it is not enough.  Much more needs to be done to bring in smart young students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and institutions.

Finally, I would like to focus on the numerous postgraduate students who are here today.  One of the most important aspects at the beginning of your research is its conceptualisation.  Read widely, and know the entire backdrop/canvas of your research.  Identify the gaps in knowledge and develop smart research questions/hypotheses.  Use the latest methodologies in your field to explore these research questions.  The information/data that you produce must be engaged with against the backdrop of existing knowledge.  What is the new knowledge that you have produced?  Production of new knowledge is the hallmark of a PhD degree and is immortalised through your scholarly publications or translational research.  Remember, it is often easier to choose a wife, husband or life partner than to choose a supervisor.  So choose smartly and wisely.  Good luck with your studies!

Despite the constrained fiscal environment, the NRF would continue to fund excellent, transformative research that enables SA to meaningfully contribute to the SDGs.

In conclusion, I would like to wish you every success in your research and thank you in advance for your contributions to society.

May you have a whale of a time in Hermanus!!

 

END

 

Posted by: Ria Olivier (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 21 August 2018