Passing of Prof David Walton

This was indeed sad news for me to hear of the passing of Prof David Walton. He was an extremely productive scientist and very active in a number of Antarctic related matters. SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) acknowledged his contribution by awarding him the SCAR Medal. I’ve met David about 20 years ago and we would meet annually at Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM) where he was initially the SCAR representative and later the Editor of the ATCM Annual report, working with a bunch of young rapporteurs.

When our government requested a review of SANAP in 2007, David led an international panel of experts to conduct the review. Click here for this full report. He and his team spent a few weeks in South Africa. A number of South Africans involved in SANAP, both scientists and administrators, have met him.

He was a very likeable person and despite all his achievements a humble person with a sharp sense of humour. The Antarctic and international science communities have lost a giant.

Henry Valentine, Technical Consultant, Department of Environmental Affairs, 15 February 2019

 

Photo Credit: www.internationalspaces.org

Current Search for Endurance Called Off

Antarctica, Weddell Sea Expedition, Weddell Sea, Larcen C, A68

Official Communication from the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019 on 14 February 2019

 

Following pioneering Antarctic scientific research, Expedition reaches wreck site, but deteriorating weather and ice conditions force searchers to abandon quest for now.

 

The Weddell Sea Expedition, which conducted a highly successful multi-disciplinary scientific research programme in Antarctica, has been forced to conclude its current search for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s iconic ship, Endurance, which was crushed by ice and sank in 1915. The Expedition’s remarkable journey has shed new light on the challenges Shackleton, his men and their wooden sailing ship faced over a century ago.

Earlier this week, the Expedition successfully reached the wreck site, as plotted 104 years ago by Frank Worsley, the Captain of Endurance. However, the historic expedition, the first to attempt to locate the Endurance, was hampered by the extreme weather conditions. The weather closed in and the sea ice conditions deteriorated, leading to the loss of AUV7, one of the state-of-the-art specialist submersible Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, which was being deployed to locate the wreck. Despite round the clock efforts to recover AUV7, and with the risk of the Expedition vessel, the South African polar research vessel, S.A Agulhas II, becoming trapped in the ice, the Expedition leaders decided to abandon the current search for Endurance.

AUV7 was on the final leg of its mission scope, nearing the end of its extensive under-ice operation, when it entered a section of sea under a vast ice floe and contact was lost with the S.A Agulhas II. AUV7 had conducted what is believed to be the longest and deepest dedicated under ice survey ever, lasting over 30 hours. It is not known whether AUV7 captured images of Endurance on the seabed before contact was lost.

The search for Endurance was part of a ground-breaking scientific research programme in the waters around the Larsen C Ice Shelf and the A-68 Iceberg. The international team of glaciologists, marine biologists and oceanographers involved in the Expedition have surveyed the seafloor and the rich and little-studied biological systems that lie beneath the ice infested sea. In addition, the Expedition has measured sea ice freeboard and snow depth in the Weddell Sea, which will help better understand Antarctic sea ice thickness and its implications for climate change and global ocean circulation.

The Expedition is funded by the Netherlands-based marine charity, The Flotilla Foundation.

Mensun Bound, Director of Exploration on the expedition, said:

“As a team we are clearly disappointed not to have been successful in our mission to find Endurance. Like Shackleton before us, who described the graveyard of Endurance as ‘the worst portion of the worst sea in the world’, our well laid plans were overcome by the rapidly moving ice, and what Shackleton called ‘the evil conditions of The Weddell Sea’.

“We are pleased to have brought the story of Shackleton and Endurance to new audiences, and to the next generation, who will be entrusted with the essential safeguarding of our polar regions, and our planet more broadly. We hope our adventure will have engaged young people about the pioneering spirit, courage and fortitude of those who sailed with Endurance to Antarctica. We pay tribute to the navigational skills of Frank Worsley, the Captain of the Endurance, whose detailed records were invaluable in our reaching the area where she was lost. I would like to thank The Flotilla Foundation for enabling this extraordinary expedition to take place, as well as Ocean Infinity for their technology and technicians, and the whole team of dedicated experts who have been involved in this important scientific and exploratory expedition.”

Oliver Plunkett, CEO of Ocean Infinity, said:

“Everyone at Ocean Infinity is deeply disappointed that at the eleventh hour, we were not able to produce the images of what is without doubt the most challenging shipwreck in the world to locate. We understood the risks of pushing the boundaries of what’s been done before with technology operating in the harshest environment on the planet. Our team worked tirelessly throughout and are rightly entitled to celebrate what they achieved in advancing knowledge and understanding. Not only were Ocean Infinity’s AUVs deployed in the search for Endurance, but also over the previous weeks, we have played a central role in gathering the critical data which will be used by scientists as part of their important work understanding the polar regions and the impact of climate change.

“These varied uses of our technological tools within a single project demonstrates the power of Ocean Infinity’s approach. Having participated in the world’s largest subsea searches in 2018, we have now spent more time operating under the ice than any other organisation. This pioneering spirit is at the heart of Ocean Infinity’s desire to be the world’s leading underwater autonomous robotic company.”

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, the Expedition Chief Scientist and Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge University, said:

“Through the scientific data gathered during the Expedition, we have deepened our knowledge and understanding of Antarctic oceanography and ecosystems, and our observations on the glaciology and geology will play a critical role in our understanding of Antarctic ice shelves and sea ice and, importantly, the changes that are occurring here today.

“The world-wide interest in Shackleton’s Endurance will also serve to convey the importance of the Expedition’s scientific and educational work. This is something we will be taking forward in our Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, where we already display the sextant used by Worsley to fix the final position of Endurance in 1915.”

Dr John Shears, polar geographer and Expedition Leader, said:

“The Weddell Sea Expedition team are truly disappointed that after such a huge effort, and overcoming several major setbacks, we have not been able to find Endurance. We are, however, very proud of our other achievements over the past weeks in Antarctica. We have greatly surpassed our primary Expedition objective of undertaking pioneering scientific research at the Larsen C Ice Shelf. We have also conducted an unprecedented educational outreach programme, allowing children from around the world to engage in real time with the Expedition and our adventures from the outset.

“We will shortly begin our return leg to Cape Town, after an expedition which has been my great privilege and honour to lead. The Expedition team, and the officers and crew of the S.A. Agulhas II, have been simply outstanding. I would also like to thank The Flotilla Foundation, and all of our partners who have all played a key role in supporting this incredible expedition.”

For further information / resources:

Photographs from the expedition are available for download at www.weddellseaexpedition.org

A video clip of Director of Exploration, Mensun Bound, speaking from S.A Agulhas II can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/317146403/dd8de74aa7

Background footage of the Expedition can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/317151349/b77f1f919a

The Expedition daily blog can be viewed at https://weddellseaexpedition.org/expedition-blog/

 

Celicourt Communications

Mark Antelme / Joanna Boon / Ollie Mills Tel: +44 (0) 207 520 9264

info@weddellseaexpedition.org

 

List of partners involved in The Weddell Sea Expedition 2019:

African Marine Solutions (AMSOL)

Atlantic Productions

Celicourt Communications

Constantia Consulting

Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA)

Deep Ocean Search Ltd

DP & Marine Assurance Norway AS

Eclipse Group Inc

Flotilla Foundation

KEA Projects Group (Pty)

Kongsberg Maritime

Nekton Foundation / University of Oxford

Nelson Mandela University

Netherlands Institute of Marine Research (NIOZ)

Ocean Infinity

Reach the World

Royal Geographical Society (RGS)

Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

Shears Polar Ltd

The Explorers Club

The South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)

University of Canterbury, NZ

University of Cape Town

University of Stellenbosch

White Desert

 

Official Communication, Weddell Sea Expedition 2019, 14 February 2019

The S.A. Agulhas II visits King George Island

During the first week of February 2019 the S.A. Agulhas II, which is currently chartered for the Weddell Sea Expedition, made a stop at King George Island. This island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands. This stopover was necessitated by the need for extra mechanical and electronic parts for the ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) team involved in the search for the Endurance wreck after an implosion of the electronics housing during a test dive. The parts were to be flown in from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the airstrip on King George Island.

One of the views while entering Ardley Cove, King George Island.

The stopover provided an opportunity for the expedition members to stretch their legs on land—a unique opportunity for the South African contingent who never get to visit these parts on the usual SANAE relief voyages. The island hosts a large number of research bases operated by Chile, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, as well as China, Russia, South Korea and Poland. A tour of Base Prof. Julio Escudero was arranged with the Chileans where all the scientific and recreational station facilities were displayed. The team was also invited in for tea at the Russian Bellingshausen station while waiting for the zodiacs to return the expedition team to the S.A. Agulhas II. The favours were then returned to the Chilean and Russian teams and they were invited aboard the S.A. Agulhas II and toured through the vessel. A joint Chilean-Argentinian naval patrol’s officers were also invited aboard and treated to some finger snacks with the S.A. Agulhas II’s officers in one of the vessel’s lounges.

King George Island also holds the Antarctic Treaty Monument which commemorates the signatories of the Antarctic Treaty and displays a plaque commemorating South Africa’s involvement as one of the original signatories. The monument is listed and protected as an Antarctic Historic Site or Monument.

Unfortunately, weather conditions prevented the designated plane with supplies from landing while the expedition was waiting at King George Island. The aircraft took off three separate times and had to turn around each time. The expedition couldn’t afford to lose more time and had to leave for the Endurance wreck site without the spares.

The team S.A. Agulhas II reached the wreck site on 10 February 2019 (read more here). The fact that the ROV will not be used for any further exploration did not stop the team, as they built a new frame fixed with lights and a camera which can be ‘trawled’ above the seafloor.

More Photos

South Shetland Islands. Photo Credit: www.travelwild.com

Written by: Hermann Luyt, Oceanography, University of Cape Town, 14 February 2019

Photo Credit (all): Hermann Luyt

South African scientists on the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019

Antarctica, Weddell Sea, Weddell Sea Expedition, Science, Oceanography, University of Cape Town, Fawcett Lab

Meet Dr Sarah Fawcett

Antarctica, Antarcticlegacy, Weddell Sea

Dr Sarah Fawcett on the S.A. Agulhas II (CTD in the background). Photo Credit: Hermann Luyt

Dr Fawcett is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town. She is a P-rated scientist (National Research Foundation Rating), who is the Principal Investigator of a South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) project titled “A nitrogen cycle view of atmospheric CO2 sequestration in the Antarctic Ocean“. She was also elected to the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) towards the end of last year (Read more here).

We are very proud that Dr Fawcett is part of the scientific team on the Weddell Sea Expedition that is currently underway. She represents South Africa as part of the UCT/SAEON/NMU team. Other institutions involved in this expedition includes the Scott Polar Institute (Cambridge, UK), the Nekton Foundation (UK) and the University of Canterbury (New Zealand). Read more about the Weddell Sea Expedition here.

Watch this video (low quality as it came directly from the Weddell Sea) where Dr Fawcett tells us more about the physical oceanography sampling conducted during the scientific leg of the exhibition and the use of this specific type of sampling.

Also listen to Dr Fawcett on Cape Talk radio and read this for more information regarding the physical oceanography leg of this scientific exploration in the Weddell Sea.

Cover photo and video credit: Hermann Luyt

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 February 2019

 

ALSA visits SANAE IV

ALSA had the opportunity to visit the SANAE IV (South African National Antarctic Expedition) Station in the first two weeks of January.

We are very excited to get the new material on the SANAP website!

Do you want to know more about this? Visit the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa website (click here).

We have such a long list of people to introduce and thank – we will start doing this very soon.

 

Ria Olivier and Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 05 February 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.

Meet the South Africans on the Weddell Sea Expedition, Antarctica

Antarctica, Weddell Sea Expedition, Weddell Sea, Larcen C, A68

The international Weddell Sea Expedition to one of the most remote regions of Antarctica has entered its fifth week. The expedition reached the Larsen C Ice Shelf on 10 January 2019 and commenced sampling of the ocean (video coming soon), surrounding ice floes, bathymetry and seafloor sediment to better understand one of the least explored ocean regions of the world.

The expedition chartered the S.A. Agulhas II and over and above the all South African crew, a large contingent of South African scientists is also onboard. The scientists include Dr Sarah Fawcett (Chemical Oceanography – University of Cape Town) and UCT students Raquel Flynn, Jessica Burger, Riesna Audh, Shantelle Smith, Kurt Spence and Hermann Luyt; Dr Katherine Hutchinson (Physical Oceanography – University of Cape Town); Prof Tommy Bornman (Biological Oceanography – South African Environmental Observation Network and Nelson Mandela University); Prof Annie Bekker (Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering – University of Stellenbosch) and her students James-John Matthee and Christof van Zijl; Tahlia Henry (Scientific operations – Nelson Mandela University/University of Cape Town); Thapi Makgabutlane (South African Weather Services) and Dr Colin de La Harpe (on behalf of the CSIR).

South Africans on the Weddell Sea Expedition posing on the helideck of the S.A. Agulhas II with the trillion tonne Iceberg A68 in the background (photo by Holly Ewart)

Stay in touch for more on this expedition team – who will only return to Cape Town middle of March 2019.

Written by: Prof Tommy Bornman, Biological Oceanography – South African Environmental Observation Network and Nelson Mandela University, 30 January 2019

Thanks to Tahlia Henry, Prof Tommy Bornman, Hermann Luyt and Dr Sarah Fawcett for coming in contact with Antarctic Legacy of South Africa.

Also visit – www.weddellseaexpedition.org | For more information also read this article.

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.

VIDEO: SANAE58/Weddell Sea Expedition currently underway

S.A. Agulhas II, Captain Bengu

Earlier this year Prof Annie Bekker of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, also director of the Sound and Vibration Research Group, organised and hosted the S.A. Agulhas II mini-seminar. This seminar covered the full scale measurement capabilities of the S.A Agulhas II and the measurements to be taken this Antarctic season.

Captain Knowledge Bengu, who will be the Captain of the S.A. Agulhas II for the 2018/2019 Antarctic Expedition, attended this seminar. This gave him some insight of what is planned by the scientists for the season and how to prepare for the SANAE58/Weddell Sea Expedition and all the operations involved.

South Africa’s ice breaking vessel, the S.A. Agulhas II, is currently on her way to Antarctica on a 96 day cruise (almost a month longer than usually) – what does the captain say about this? Anche Louw of the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa interviewed Captain Knowledge Bengu – see interview below.

The first stop for the S.A. Agulhas II is Penguin Bukta. Here the SANAE58 team, cargo and other research personnel will be offloaded and then transported to SANAE IV.
The ship will then depart to the Weddell Sea (after fuel pumping) for the 45 day Weddell Sea Expedition 2019, on search for The Endurance and also if possible scientific exploration.

For more information about the Weddell Sea Expedition – click here.

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 18 December 2018

S.A. Agulhas II with SANAE58 onboard heading South

The S.A. Agulhas II has departed from the East Pier of Cape Town harbour on 6 December 2018. The ship then docked at customs, where passports of all passengers onboard were stamped. The ship officially left Cape Town 7 December 2018 en route Antarctica.

Track the S.A. Agulhas II here.

The voyage schedule is as follows:

SANAE 06/12/2018 19/12/2018 Annual relief voyage Cape Town to Antarctica (Penguin Bukta)
20/12/2018 31/12/2018 Offloading, fuel pumping
01/01/2019 14/02/2019 Weddell Sea Expedition
15/02/2019 23/02/2019 Back-loading, fuel pumping
24/02/2019 11/03/2019 Return to Cape Town (via SS Island if required)

 

Onboard the vessel is the 58th SANAE Overwintering team that will stay in and maintain South Africa’s Antarctic research station (SANAE IV), while gathering weather and space weather data for a period of 14 months.

The Weddell Sea Expedition will also form part of this voyage – click here for more information.

 

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 13 December 2018

Antarctica Season Launch 2018

The first three days of the South African Antarctica Season Launch consisted of Exhibitions by the Department of Environmental Affairs, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA), The South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), The Port of Cape Town (Transnet Port Terminals), African Marine Solutions (AMSOL), the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), Meihuizen International Logistics and the Two Oceans Aquarium.

Invited schools had the opportunity to visit this exhibition. This gave students the opportunity to understand more about South Africa’s involvement in Antarctic Research, how we get to the Antarctic (onboard the RV S.A. Agulhas II) and the large number of careers involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme.

As from today the SA-Norwegian Polar Seminar 2018 will be held at the TNPA Building, Port of Cape Town – see the program below.

Day 4, Thursday 06 December 2018

Theme - Heritage Presentations : Chair J. Beaumont 09:00 – 13:00
1. SA Antarctic Legacy left by Humans Presentation - R Olivier( 10min)
2. Human Spirit Achmat Hassiem - H Valentine (10min)
3. Amundsen’s expeditions, about everything but the South Pole - Susan Barr (45min)
4. Exploits of Sibusiso Vilana - M Matutu (10min)
5. Ocean and Antarctica conservation Lewis Pugh -M. Mayekiso (10min)
6. The Norwegian cultural heritage in Antarctica - Susan Barr (45min)
7. History of Dronning Maud Land History - Olav Orheim (45min)
LUNCH
Theme – Research Exchange : Chair Aaidoo – Floor 2 (Seminar)
1. Presentation - A. Makhado
Top predator at the Prince Edward Islands and southern ocean- implication to their trophic position (30min)
2. Presentation – S. Somhlaba (30min)
3. Progress in the fisheries research in Subarea 48.6 (30min)
4. Presentation – T Makhalanyane (30min)
5. Presentation – T Mtshali (CSIR) (30min)
6. Nansen-Tutu (Local Director)
S.A. AGULHAS II Departure at East Pier, Port of Cape Town 16:00 – 17:00

Day 5, Friday 07 December 2018

Theme – Polar Gateways - Chair A. Miya/ C. Birkenstock (TNPA)10:00 – 13:00
Gateway Centers
1. Cape Town Antarctic Gateway Center - M Matutu (30min)
2. Polaris Climate Change Observatory-M’ de Wooters (20min)
3. Arctic Gateway Aspects - Olav Orheim (45min)
4. SA Antarctic Heritage as a gateway to Antarctica - ALSA (10min)
5. MRCC – Jared Blows (10min)
6. ARCC – S. White (10min)
7. Antarctica and Flying - White Desert (10min)
8. Antarctica and shipping – P. Meihuizen (10min)
LUNCH13:00 - 14:00

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.

Environmental Affairs to launch first South African Antarctica Season Week

29 November 2018

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in partnership with the Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA), will be launching the first ever South African Antarctica Season Week on 03 December 2018 at the Cruise Terminal in the Port of Cape Town.

Antarctica Week will take place from 03 to 07 December 2018, and the activities will include exhibitions to the guests, schools and the public; science discussions; heritage presentations; stakeholder engagements; etc.

The DEA has identified TNPA, Port of Cape Town as the location of a new Antarctic Centre, which will be built to enhance the country’s role as an Antarctic Gateway. The centre will support the promotion of the Antarctic continent and its various economic opportunities for South Africa.

The centre, which fits within the department’s Antarctic Strategy, will be announced at the launch which will also mark the departure of the SA Agulhas II for its annual Antarctic relief voyage and the start of the annual Norwegian-South Africa seminar and exhibition, ending 7 December 2018.

Members of the media are invited to attend as follows:

Date: Monday, 3 December 2018
Venue: Cruise Terminal, Port of Cape Town
Time: 10:00-12:00

  • To facilitate ease of passage at the Port, kindly RSVP with your ID number to Gaopalelwe Moroane (gmoroane@environment.gov.za) by end of business, 30 November 2018.
  • For RSVPs and scheduling of interviews please contact Gaopalelwe Moroane on 0825121094 / GMoroane@environment.gov.za / 063 6979001

For media queries please contact:

Zolile Nqayi
Cell: 082 898 6483
E-mail: znqayi@environment.gov.za

58th SANAE team departing next week

SA Agulhas II, SANAE58

The 58th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team is almost done with 3 weeks of training. As from tomorrow this team will be prepared for their 14 month expedition to South Africa’s Antarctic base, SANAE IV.

They will depart today in a week’s time, 06 December 2018, and return around middle February 2020.

Watch this video to learn more about Antarctica, South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic Continent and South Africa’s research vessel (S.A. Agulhas II) built by STX Finland.

 

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 29 November 2018.

Meet the SANAE58 team

SANAE58, Overwinter Team, Overwintering Team, Antarctica

The 58th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team training has kicked off yesterday, 12 November, onboard the S.A. Agulhas II.

Meet S58, our SANAP ambassadors who will spend just more than a year on the ice:

The first day of team training included a number of informational sessions. In between these sessions Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) also had the opportunity to share the history of South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic region with the new SANAE overwintering team (S58). This puts emphasis on the team’s responsibilities as South African Antarctic Ambassadors for the coming year. The team was also briefed about the importance of their photos, videos, narratives etc. which needs to be archived by the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa for future generations.

 

Anche Louw (ALSA) talking about the team’s responsibility towards the ALSA archive and the SANAP website.

Ria Olivier (ALSA) introducing the team to South Africa’s Antarctic Legacy.

Floid Chauke, DEA Deputy Director (Health and Safety), addressing the new SANAE team. Topics: SANAP Adventure Policy, fire emergency plan, search and rescue type of operations and cold weather training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further team training will include:

  • Cold Weather Training
  • Rope Work and Rescue Techniques
  • Fire Fighting
  • First Aid
  • Cooking
  • Team Development activities
  • Dental Examination
  • Clothing Fitment and issuing
  • Occupational Health and Safety Talks
  • Environmental Talks
  • Pre-departure arrangements
  • Protective Clothing
  • Warehouse Procedures & packing of containers
  • Asset Management
  • Tasks & Projects
  • Responsibilities
  • A. Agulhas II – voyage to Antarctica
  • Logistics and voyage information
  • Stock take and Orders, Food Management
  • Monthly and annual reports, Newsletter
  • Team Leader & Management
  • Employee Health and Wellness & Labour Relations Talk

Team training will be until the 30th of November, which will give the team a few days with family and friend before they depart to Antarctica on 6 December.

Click here to view the S.A Agulhas II Voyage Schedule.

Featured Image: L-R (Back): Anche Louw (ALSA), Mpati Boleme (SANSA VLF Engineer), Jufter Munyai (DEA Electrical Engineer), Marvin Rankuda (Senior Meteorological Technician), Bongisipho Kuali (DEA Mechanical Engineer), Ria Olivier (ALSA), Sanele Mkhize (DEA Diesel Mechanic); (Front) Travis Duck (SANSA Radar Engineer), Ewald Ferreira (Communications Engineer), Jacques Robbertze (DEA Diesel Mechanic).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 13 November 2018

South African Delegates attending the 37th Annual CCAMLR Meeting

What is CCAMLR?

Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources

The role of CCAMLR?

International relations with respect to Antarctica needs to be regulated and this is done means of the Antarctic Treaty and related agreements (referred to as the Antarctic Treaty System). The Convention on the CCAMLR was signed in 1982 and forms a key part of the management of the Antarctic marine ecosystem and fishing industries operating south* of the Antarctic Convergence.  Watch this video for more information about CCAMLR.

* rough boundary where warmer waters from the north meet the colder Antarctic waters below 60° South (www.ats.aq)

Where does South Africa fit in?

South Africa is not just one of the first signatories of the Antarctic Treaty, but also one of the nations very much concerned about the conservation of Antarctic resources.

South Africa is part of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and as a member of the commission South African representatives attend these meetings, contributing to the discussion and implementation of policies. The 37th meeting of the Commission is currently underway and attended by about 300 delegates including South Africa’s Dr Monde Mayekiso (meeting convener), Dr A Makado and Mr L Fikizolo (Department of Environmental Affairs).

Dr Mayekiso – Chair/Convener, thirty-seventh annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

 

37th annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR):

22 October – 02 November 2018 | Hobart, Tasmania.

Click here for more information.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, 24 October 2018

Have you read the latest SANAE Newsletters?

All available team newsletters now linked on the SANAP Website!

The 57th SANAE Overwintering team has already produced eight newsletters since their arrival at South Africa’s Antarctic research station (SANAE IV), last year December.

What you can expect from this team’s newsletters:

  • The team’s preparation before their year on the ice? (December 2017 Issue).
  • Meet the whole team and get to know the different team members in each newsletter.
  • Learn more about the research conducted at SANAE IV.
    • What exactly does North West University’s (NWU) Centre for Space Research (CSR) look at in Antarctica? (July 2018 Issue).
  • Weather measurements for some months.
  • Team sponsors are also mentioned at the back of each newsletter – on behalf of the team, thank you to all the sponsors. We truly hope that you will build a relationship with our overwinterers and support them annually.

For loads more interesting topics discussed by SANAE57 (Click here).

To see newsletters from previous SANAE teams as well as current and previous Marion Island and Gough Island Overwintering teams (Click here).

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 10 September 2018

 

 

 

 

Happy Women’s Month

May you be inspired by the women within South Africa’s Antarctic Programme.

All the women that attended the 5th South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) Symposium, earlier this month in Hermanus.

Women sitting here have been dreaming about a career in science and science related positions within the South African National Antarctic Programme.  These are all ordinary women, but due to ambition and extremely hard work they are, or are becoming the best in their fields of research.

There is an increasing trend with regards to female Principal Investigators (PI’s) within South Africa’s Antarctic Programme (See Figure below). Of the 29 DST-NRF funded research projects within SANAP (for the period of 2018 to 2020), the Principal Investigator for 13 of these are women.

Women are represented in all four research themes within SANAP (Themes: Earth Systems, Living Systems, Human Enterprise and Innovation: Southern Ocean and Antarctic technology and engineering). Read more about these themes in South Africa’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research Plan for 2014 to 2024 (Click here).

Who is the Principal Investigator (PI)

“A Principal Investigator is the primary individual responsible for the preparation, conduct, and administration of a research grant in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and institutional policy governing the conduct of sponsored research.” (www.umass.edu)

Women are represented in all four research themes within SANAP (Themes: Earth Systems, Living Systems, Human Enterprise and Innovation: Southern Ocean and Antarctic technology and engineering). Read more about these themes in South Africa’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research Plan for 2014 to 2024 (Click here).

To all the women who:

  • are or have been principal investigators of research projects within SANAP;
  • obtained an Honours, Master’s, PhD or Post-Doc through South Africa’s Antarctic programme (SANAP);
  • still study to become a scientist through SANAP;
  • worked on research vessels, studying towards a scientific degree;
  • overwintered on Marion Island, Gough Island or SANAE (Antarctica);
  • spent a take-over on Marion Island, Gough Island or SANAE (Antarctica);
  • started their careers within South Africa’s Antarctic programme;
  • work behind the scenes of the Antarctic Programme (DST, NRF and DEA);
  • feel SANAP meant the world to them by being the stepping stone for their futures,

…may you keep inspiring women to become what they want to be!

Only a few of the ladies who are or were involved in SANAP.

Inspiring female SANAP Scientist: Prof Isabelle Ansorge (UCT, Department of Oceanography) – read her inspiring story here!

Prof Isabelle Ansorge, as a young researchers, on the Marion cruise onboard the S.A. Agulhas I in 2003.

 

Author: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 28 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

SCAR and IASC Conference, Davos – Switzerland

It is the second day of the joint Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) Conference in Davos, Switzerland.

Out of the 18 South African attendees, 9 oral presentations and 12 poster presentations  will be delivered. Four more South Africans who started their scientific careers in the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP), currently residing and representing different countries, are also attending this conference.

Please see below titles of these presentations.

South African representation at POLAR2018 (SCAR & IASC Conference) Davos, Switzerland 15-26 June 2018
Oral Presentations
Date Session Time Title Presenter Venue
19-Jun OC-1_OC-2b Innovation, partnership and impact in polar science communication & Polar Research and Citizen Science: Exploring New Platforms and Opportunities 11:15-11:30 A new South African National Antarctic Programme Portal Designed by ALSA Louw, Anché B Pischa
19-Jun BE-3b Polar perspectives on microbial evolution, adaptation, and ecological function 12:15-12:30 Metagenomics and Viromics of the Mackay Glacier Ecotone Van Goethem, Marc A Seehorn
21-Jun BE-2b Phytoplankton, productivity and carbon export dynamics 11:00-11:15 Southern-Atlantic Phytoplankton Community Composition Response to Light and Iron Viljoen, Johannes Jacobus A Seehorn
21-Jun BE-2b Phytoplankton, productivity and carbon export dynamics 11:15-11:30 Southern Ocean Phytoplankton Silica Uptake Relating to Leakage and Carbon Export Weir, Ian A Seehorn
21-Jun BE-2b Phytoplankton, productivity and carbon export dynamics 11:45-12:00 Phytoplankton Group-specific Contributions to the Subantarctic Biological Pump Forrer, Heather J A Seehorn
21-Jun OS-7c Atmosphere-Ice-Ocean interactions in the Polar Regions 14:30-14:45 Impact of Severe Storm Conditions on the Marginal Ice Zone in the Southern Ocean Vichi, Marcello S Sanada II
22-Jun BE-9d Life distribution and responses to environmental changes in Polar ecosystems 12:00-12:15 Predicting Plant Invasion Risks to the Subantarctic Islands Greve, Michelle C Aspen
22-Jun OC-3 The role of museums in promoting polar heritage and advancing polar science 16:30-16:45 Antarctic Legacy of SA Collaborates to Celebrate South Africa’s Polar Heritage Louw, Anché S Sanada I
23-Jun SH-8 Data science for polar environments – discovery, rescue, and mining 09:30-09:45 Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) Preserve Human Data, what is the Value? Olivier, Ria A Wisshorn
POSTERS
Date Session Time Title Presenter Venue
19-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 A Comparison of the Frost Environment of Three Disparate Climatic Locations Hansen, Christel Foyer
19-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Genetic Patterns at Fine Spatial Scales: Complex Findings in a Complex Landscape Monsanto, Daniela Foyer
19-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Geomorphology and Antarctic Ecosystems in Dronning Maud Land Meiklejohn, Ian Foyer
19-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 The Active Layer and Permafrost Environment of Flårjuven (Antarctica): 2008 – 2017 Hansen, Christel Foyer
20-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Comparing Data Derived from Animal-borne and Argo Observations Treasure, Anne M. Foyer
20-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Marine Mammals Exploring the Oceans Pole to Pole: Review of the MEOP Consortium Treasure, Anne M. Foyer
20-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Southern Ocean Stratification Delayed by Submesoscale Wind-front Interactions du Plessis, Marcel Foyer
21-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Analysis of Synoptic Variability of the Antarctic MIZ with in Situ Observations de Jong, Ehlke Foyer
21-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Physical Forcing of Marine Ecosystems in the Prince Edward Islands Region Treasure, Anne M. Foyer
21-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Plankton Production in Open Southern Ocean and Surrounding subantarctic Islands Stirnimann, Luca Foyer
22-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA): Past Decade, Approaches and Challenges Olivier, Ria Foyer
22-Jun Poster 17:30-18:30 Promoting the Antarctic Heritage of South Africa with a Digital Museum Olivier, Ria Foyer

 

Welcome to the new SANAP Platform

See below a few useful aspects of our website

This is your gateway to the South African National Antarctic Programme.

On the Home page, the latest news will be published and older news articles will be located in the News page, where you can also view the calendar for the announcements of upcoming events.

STATIONS

Want to know more about South Africa’s research stations in the Antarctic region? Navigate to Stations. Here you can view photos, videos and a map of the chosen research station.

EXPEDITIONS

Want to see photo’s of previous overwintering teams? Navigate to Team structure and make sure you press the ‘team photos‘ icon.

Are you getting ready for an expedition and want to make sure you know what to pack and what not to pack? Navigate to Own Supplies, Prohibited Supplies or Issued Supplies (if you want to see what will be supplied by DEA). Another page highly recommended before an expedition is ‘Advice for Overwinterers‘.

RESEARCH

Are you aware of the current or previous SANAP projects, funded by the National Research Foundation? See Current Research Projects or Previous Research Projects.

JOBS

Are you interested in working on Antarctica, Marion or Gough Island. See Jobs, for all available overwintering positions.

Please do not hesitate to fill in the contact form or email directly for any queries.

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