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 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

Women’s Month 2019

August is a very special month for women in South Africa and this said we would like to salute women within the South African National Antarctic Programme.

SANAP is filled with strong women in Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and Southern Ocean research. The programme also consist of a number of brave women overwintering at the South African research stations (Marion Island, Gough Island and Antarctica).

There are 29 National Research Foundation/Department of Science and Technology  funded projects within SANAP and 13 of these are managed by women. This is evident that women definitely have a place within Antarctic research.

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) sends four volunteers to Antarctica every year. These volunteers assist with hard work (physically and mentally). The last take-over to Antarctica, three of the four South African National Space Agency (SANSA) volunteers were women.

During my trip to Antarctica earlier this year, I had the opportunity to meet a number of very inspiring women – in the video below, meet the three SANSA volunteers of the 2018/2019 Antarctic take-over and the new VLF (Very Low Frequency) SANSA Engineer, who is currently overwintering at the South African National Antarctic Expedition station (SANAE IV).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 13 August 2019.

Mid-winter greetings from the three SANAP stations

Happy mid-winter from our Antarctic station (SANAE), sub-Antarctic station (Marion Island) and Gough Island.

Antarctica – where the 58th overwintering team will be celebrating mid-winter.

Antarctica, SANAE, SANAE58,midwinter

Marion Island – where the 76th overwintering team will be celebrating mid-winter.

Marion Island, Marion76, midwinter

Gough Island – where the 64th overwintering team will be celebrating mid-winter.

Gough Island, Gough64, midwinter

Mid-Winter greetings from DEA

Mid-Winter is celebrated right across Antarctica by all the nations & stations.  It is the 0ldest tradition in Antarctica and refers to the Winter Solstice (or hibernal solstice).  It occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern). For that hemisphere, the winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky.

At the pole, there is continuous darkness or twilight around the winter solstice. Its opposite is the summer solstice.

The winter solstice occurs during the hemisphere’s winter. In the Southern Hemisphere, this is the June solstice (usually 20 or 21 June).   Although the winter solstice itself lasts only a moment, the term sometimes refers to the day on which it occurs. Other names are “midwinter”, the “extreme of winter” (Dongzhi), or the “shortest day”.

So, for Antarctic Expeditioners / Overwinterers the worst is over with regards to dark (lack of light and sunlight).

Happy Mid- Winter to all – share this email far and wide.

From all of us

Jasmine Arnold

Office Administrator to The Ship’s Operations Manager | Directorate: Southern Oceans & Antarctic Support | Office address: East Pier, Waterfront | Direct no: 021 405 9485 | Switchboard: 021 405 9400

Mid-winter Event Pretoria, South Africa – organised by Carol Jacobs :

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.

Happy Birthday to Marion75 Team member – Michelle Thompson

Marion Island, Sub-Antarctic, South African Islands

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish Michelle Thompson (Field Assistant – Birder M75) a Happy Birthday today.

This will be the last team member of M75 we wish happy birthday to, as this team returned back to Cape Town a few days ago! All the best for your future guys! Marion Island, Birhdays

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 19 May 2019

Welcome home Marion75 and take-over personnel

The S.A. Agulhas II arrived in Cape Town yesterday, 15 May 2019, after being away for 34 days.

The vessel returned with the 75th Marion Island overwintering team, all take-over scientists (land-and ship based) and take-over personnel.

Marion75 departed last year on 06 April 2018 and they are now reunited with family and friends after approximately 13 months.

Click here to see who was on this team and more about the different scientific groups (land-and ship based).

Note that there are more institutions involved in take-over science on the island, not mentioned in this video such as the Biocomplexity Project (University of Johannesburg) and Observing Dawn in the Cosmos (University of KwaZulu Natal). These projects does not have personnel overwintering on the island.

Marion75 and take-over personnel, addressed by the Deputy Director-General Oceans and Coasts, Judy Beaumont:

 

Marion75, M75, Marion Island, Overwintering Team

L-R (front): Dakalo Gangashe (Base Engineer), Maliviwe Mnengisa (Medic/Team leader), Zinhle Shongwe (Assistant meteorologist), Stephan Keys (Birder), Dani Keys (Birder), Dineo Mogashoa (Winder/Botanist); (middle) Oyena Masiko (Birder), Vhulahani Manukha (Space Engineer), Mavis Lekhesa (Radio Technician), Michael Taunyane (Diesel Mechanic / Deputy Team Leader). Sechaba Nyaku (Senior Meteorologist). Michelle Thompson (Birder). Monica Leitner (Assistant ECO), Liezl Pretorius (Sealer/Deputy Science Team Leader), Elsa van Ginkel (Winder/Botanist), Bongekile Kuhlase (Botanist); (back) Abuyiselwe Nguna (Geomorphologist/Science Team Leader), Jabulani Thabede (Chef), James Burns (Assistant meteorologist), Charlotte Heijnis (Senior ECO), Sean Morar (Birder). Welly Qwabe (Sealer), Michael Voysey (Killer whaler/sealer), Marike Louw (Botanist).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 16 May 2019.

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

Happy Birthday to Marion75 Team member – Bongekile Kuhlase

Marion Island, Sub-Antarctic, South African Islands

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish Bongekile Kuhlase (Botanical Field Assistant of M75) a Happy Birthday today.

Marion Island

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 04 May 2019

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.

Marion76 and take-over personnel about to depart from East Pier

Marion Island, M76, Marion76

Meet the Marion Island Overwintering team here.

See below some photos of the departure, more detail regarding the take-over to follow.

Videos

Meet the M76 Team Leader

Meet the M76 Deputy Team Leader

Meet the M76 Science Team Leader

 

All photos and videos taken by Ria Olivier, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa.

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

Happy Birthday to Marion75 Team member – Melford Mnengisa

Marion Island, Sub-Antarctic, South African Islands

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish Melford Mnengisa (Medical Orderly of M75) a Happy Birthday today.

Marion Island

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 05 April 2019

Happy Birthday to Marion75 Team member – Sechaba Nyaku

Marion Island, Sub-Antarctic, South African Islands

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish Sechaba Nyaku (Senior Meteorological Technician of M75) a Happy Birthday today.

Marion Island

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 29 March 2019

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.

 

 

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

 

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)

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

Marion Island October newsletter now available

Greetings to all from our little island down south

We have had a great month here on Marion! October has been very productive for the field assistants and the huts have been experiencing a steady stream of visitors and some have been housing long term residents where there is lots to do nearby. Back at base all is running smoothly and we are all kept warm and well fed!

We hope you enjoy this edition of the Wanderer (October 2018) and that it gives you all a taste of our fantastic experience here!

Please click here to view all M75’s newsletters written so far.

 

Author: James Burns, 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team (Meteorological Observer), 19 November 2018

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

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

 

75th Marion Island overwintering team – Communications Officer

The 75th Marion Island Overwintering team has been alone on the island for 1 month. Watch this videos where Antarctic Legacy of South Africa’s; Anché Louw interview Mr Mathibela Selepe, Chief Communications Officer, regarding the role of the team’s Communications Engineer, Bukelwa Mavis Lekhesa.

See here for a list of team members on the 75th Marion Island Overwintering team.

Marion 74 team photo now loaded

The 74th Marion Island Overwintering team departed on 06 April 2017 (Photo) and returned to Cape  Town on 07 May 2018 (Photo).

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

Marion Island Team Photos

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 30 May 2018

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.