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

SANAE IV March 2019 Newsletters now available

Download the first newsletter of the 58th SANAE Overwintering team!

In this Edition:

– Meet the team

– They have a Motto!!

– See who sponsored the team with some extra (nice to have items) for their expedition.

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

SANAE58, S58, Antarctica, Overwintering Team

 

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

Antarctic Earth Scientists take note…

SCAR Event Announcement
XIII International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences

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

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

 

Meet Marion76 (2019/2020 overwintering team)

Marion Island, Overwintering, Team

The 76th Marion Island Overwintering team training started during the second week of March and will end Friday, 29 March.

The team training is intended to give the team a good background of the South African National Antarctic Programme and the history of South Africa’s involvement in the Southern Ocean. The team will also get an idea of what to expect of their year on Marion Island, learn what they can and can’t do and get a better idea of what to pack. During training the team can mingle with each other and learn how to work together during First Aid and Fire Fighting training, during the packing of containers and the cooking class. Each member’s dental health will also be assessed and attended to, as there is no way of returning home for an aching tooth. Each member on the team will also be kitted out with the necessary protective clothing for living and working in the sub-Antarctic.

The current expected time of departure for the vessel, S.A. Agulhas II is 11 April 2019. Click here to view the S.A Agulhas II Voyage Schedule.

Marion76 (M76)

Featured Image: M76 team during the first day of training, with Ria Olivier, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (back, 4th from left) and  Adriaan Dreyer (far right), Assistant Director – Logistics and Support of Expeditions (Southern Ocean and Island Support Division, Department of Environmental Affairs).

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 20 March 2019

 

Marion Island February 2019 newsletter now available

Marion Island, Newsletter

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

And so goes the second month of the not-so-new-anymore year. It has been another wonderful month on this incredible island! The Christmas trees (correction: one of the Christmas trees) have just been packed away and the base is visibly tensing for the onslaught of the upcoming take-over month. The new M76 team has started training in Cape Town and we are all getting ready to show them the ropes when they arrive. But despite the approaching conclusion to our adventure, we have still been having a fantastic time here in paradise!

Winter is coming, and fast! February saw a very noticable shift in weather as the winds pick up, temperatures drop and the interior recieves a regular dusting of white. Field workers have been busy as the last of many of the newest generation of island birds leave their nests and the fur seal pups grow at an alarming rate. The iconic wandering albatross have mostly settled down and the first few chicks have even hatched. There is still a lot of work to do, both outside and in the lab, before the ship arrives. We have been in high spirits back at base and still enjoy our weekly braais, a couple of birthdays and other fun events.

This edition of The Wanderer (February 2019) is packed with great photos and the amazing experiences that we have been enjoying here! We hope you enjoy them all too!

Kind regards,
the Wanderer Editing team

Authors: Elsa van Ginkel (Editor) and James Burns (Co-Editor), 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team, 19 March 2019 (received 14 March 2019)

 

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

Polar Week 2019

As a community doing Polar research we take part in the APECS* International Polar Week of March 2019 to promote international polar research.

*APECS: Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

 

This year the March Polar Week runs from the 17th until the 23rd of March 2019.

 

What is Polar Week?

APECS

Except from the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists Website

Part of this week-long celebration on social media, South Africa’s National Committee for APECS, APECS South Africa, is running a photo competition.  You are ALL encouraged to enter!

The categories is as follow: Data, Landscape, Wildlife and Fieldwork.

For more details, click on the photo below…

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 18 March 2019

Happy Birthday to Marion75 Team member (Cook) – Jabulani Thabede

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 Jabulani Thabede (Cook of  M75) a Happy Birthday today.

This is the first overwintering team with a full-time cook on the team.

Marion Island, Team, Overwintering Team, Birthdays

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 18 March 2019

Welcome home S.A. Agulhas II

Welcome to Cape Town SANAE57 team, take-over personnel, Weddell Sea Expedition crew, Department of Public Works personnel and Nolitha Construction (responsible for the refurbishments of the SANAE IV base), the Ultimate Helicopter Crew and the S.A. Agulhas II’s Captain and Crew.

The 57th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team has returned to Cape Town, after 15 months away from home (see photo below). This team had to stay a bit longer at SANAE IV than usual, due to the longer take-over in order to accommodate the Weddell Sea Expedition, that was incorporated in the 2018/2019 Antarctica Cruise.

L-R (Back): Stephanus Schoeman (RADAR Engineer), John Skelete (Diesel Mechanic), Bo Orton (Electrician), Will Jelbert (Doctor), Forster Mashele (VLF Engineer), Sabelo Biyela (Diesel Mechanic); (front) Hloni Rakoteli (Communications Engineer), Lux Tanyana (Base Engineer), Elias Seabi (Meteorological Technician) and Cobus van der Merwe (Neutron Engineer).

This Weddell Sea Expedition was funded by the The Flotilla Foundation and the S.A. Agulhas II chartered a team of scientists into the Weddell Sea, for extensive scientific exploration on and around the LarsenC ice shelf and the A68 Iceberg. Click here to meet the South Africans that was part of this expedition.

The Weddell Sea Expedition also involved the search for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance (click here for more information), but due to unfavourable weather conditions and the loss of the AUV (automated underwater vehicle) the search was ended where after the ship headed back to Penguin Bukta where overwintering members (S57) and take-over personnel of SANAE IV boarded the ship.

The welcoming ceremony was led by Mathibela Selepe (Department of Environmental Affairs, Chief Engineer: Telecommunications and Instrumentation) and welcoming speech delivered by Mbulelo Dopolo (Department of Environmental Affairs, Branch: Oceans and Coasts, Director: Earth Systems Strategies).

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 15 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 Jansen van Vuuren was nominated as the Committee Chair, and myself as the 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 Jansen van Vuuren
  • Anne Treasure

Physical Sciences Standing Committee of SCAR

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

Geosciences Standing Committee of SCAR

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

Social Sciences and Humanities Standing Committee of SCAR

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

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

 

 

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

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

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

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

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

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

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

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

SANAE57 Team – meet the Comms Engineer (Video)

SANAE57, Overwintering Team, Antarctica, Team, Communications Engineer, SANAE IV

Following up on this article: SANAE57 Team -currently on their way home

Meet the Communications Engineer of the 57th South African National Antarctic Expedition Team – Hloni Rakoteli. This is not the first time Hloni heads home on the S.A Agulhas II from an overwintering expedition, his first expedition was on Gough Island as part of the 61st Gough Island Overwintering Team (Gough61 team photo). Get to know Hloni a bit better, before watching the video, by downloading the June Edition of the SANAE57 team newsletter.

Excerpt of SANAE57’s first team newsletter – December 2017 (Click here to view this newsletter)

VIDEO

 

This team is heading home on the S.A. Agulhas II, currently sailing through the roaring 40’s (now at 43°South). Track the S.A. Agulhas II by clicking on the icon below.

Track the S.A. Agulhas II here...

Track the S.A. Agulhas II

 

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

 

 

Current Cruise: Glider deployment, data collection and retrieval

SOCCO, Gliders, CSIR, UCT

The S.A. Agulhas II is now on its homeward journey having finished all logistical and scientific work at SANAE and in the Weddell Sea (track the ship here). The work is not yet over for all aboard, however. Scientists from the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the South African Weather Service (SAWS) continue to collect oceanographic and meteorological data. UCT and CSIR are both sampling seawater as the ship sails, measuring chlorophyll, nutrients, ammonium and phytoplankton community composition, to name a few.

Over and above this, CSIR—more particularly, CSIR SOCCO—and Martin Mohrmann of the University of Gothenburg and ROAM-MIZ deployed oceanographic instruments on the voyage south to Antarctica (see photos below). CSIR SOCCO, or the Southern Ocean Carbon & Climate Observatory, is a South African research programme focused on the Southern Ocean. ROAM-MIZ, according to their website, “is a multi-institutional initiative to observe the full seasonal cycle of the upper ocean in the marginal ice zone near the Greenwich Meridian”. CSIR SOCCO deployed two wave gliders, a Seaglider and a Slocum glider. ROAM-MIZ deployed two Seagliders and a Sailbuoy, christened SB Kringla. These instruments continuously record oceanographic data while they move through the water. The wave gliders and the Sailbuoy remain at the surface, harnessing wave and wind power, respectively, to propel them through the water. The Seagliders and Slocum glider alter their buoyancy to dive and sample sea water during their journeys to the deeps (deep parts of the ocean) and back to the surface. All these vehicles transmit their data to satellites at regular intervals or when they surface after a dive.

Deployment of Gliders

With the S.A. Agulhas II now making for home, the time has come to recover these instruments in order that they can be serviced and used again in future deployments. The wave gliders, in a true feat of engineering, are being piloted home to Cape Town. This is due to reducing sunlight available for the solar panels of the southernmost glider as the receding summer light wanes at these high latitudes. This will entail a journey of 1200 km and 2500 km for the respective wave gliders (click here for the update on the position of the gliders). Two Seagliders, the Slocum glider and the Sailbuoy will be recovered on the voyage home. The third Seaglider is to be recovered by another vessel, the Norwegian RV Kronprins Haakon, sailing from Punta Arenas in Chile.

On the 1st of March, the Sailbuoy and a ROAM-MIZ Seaglider were both safely recovered in fair weather at 60°S 0°E. The speed and success of the recovery were entirely down to the skill of the S.A. Agulhas II’s crew and the prevailing calm weather. Next, the Slocum glider will be recovered at 54°S 0°E and then CSIR SOCCO’s remaining buoyancy glider at 43°S 8°E. The S.A. Agulhas II is now making for 54°S 0°E after having sailed to South Thule and South Georgia for SAWS deployments and commitments.

Retrieval of Gliders

For more information on CSIR’s SOCCO programme, click here and for further information on ROAM-MIZ, click here.

Cover Photo: ROAM-MIZ’s two buoyancy gliders making satellite contact in preparation for deployment.

 

Written by: Hermann Luyt, Oceanography, University of Cape Town

Edited by: Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 March 2019

Photo Credit (all): Hermann Luyt

SANAP Project News: SOCCO (follow-up)

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern Ocean

SOSCEX-Storm II Experiment Wave Gliders heading to Cape Town from the Antarctic waters

Following up on the story of the our Liquid Robotics Wavegliders returning home to Cape Town from the Southern Ocean (click here) we have now completed the first half of the journey. Waveglider WG052 will arrive at its intermediate waypoint 43°S 9°E on Saturday 2nd March.  It has completed the first 1200km of its journey in 17 days at an average of 70km per day during which it sailed through 3 storms and crossed both the Polar and Sub-Antarctic fronts (see photo below).

SOCCO, Gliders, Wavegliders

On Sunday 3rd March WG052 will meet up with its twin WG027 that has been making its own CO2 and physics measurements at our long term observation station SAZ-1 since early December 2018. They will return together in the second 1200km stretch of sub-polar and sub-tropical waters but separated by about 50 – 100km to test some ideas about the correlations length scales for pCO2.  Both units continue to provide almost real time observations of ocean physics and CO2.  You will see from the attached pic (earth.nullschool.net), which is derived from almost real time satellite observations-based surface ocean circulation product OSCAR of the mesoscale features around the south of Africa, that we are aiming to use one of these “jets” to propel both gliders towards Cape Town across the turbulent cauldron west of the Agulhas current retroflection.  It shows very nicely how the ocean is not made up of large homogeneous currents but a series of high speed jets and eddies.  We are exploring how the interaction of storms with these features influence the seasonal variability and ultimately the climate sensitivity of the air – sea fluxes of CO2 in the Southern Ocean.

 

– Dr. Pedro M. Scheel Monteiro & SOCCO & SA-RobOTIC team, 01 March 2019 (posted 06 March 2019)

SANAE57 Team -currently on their way home (Video)

SANAE57, Overwintering, Antarctica

The SANAE57 (57th SANAE Overwintering) Team is currently onboard the S.A. Agulhas II, heading home after 14months on Antarctica. ALSA was privileged to catch up with the team during take-over (in January) at SANAE IV, the fourth South African National Antarctic Expedition Station.

SANAE57, Overwintering, Antarctica

Back (L-R): Elias Seabi, Lux Tanyana, Sabelo Biyela, Cobus van der Merwe, Hloni Rakoteli; (front) Stephanus Schoeman, Foster Mashele, Will Jelbert, John Skelete, Bo Orton. This photo is also now part of South Africa’s Antarctic Legacy – on the ALSA archive (click here).

Each member of SANAE57 was introduced in the team’s first newsletter. Read below Will Jelbert’s (team leader and doctor of the team) introduction at the start of the expedition and hear what he had to say after the expedition (in take-over). If you want to read more about this expedition member make sure you read the September Edition of this team’s newsletter.

Team Doctor, SANAE57, SANAEIV, Antarctica

Excerpt of SANAE57’s first team newsletter – December 2017 (Click here to view this newsletter)

 

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

Currently on the S.A. Agulhas II – Sea Ice Observations

Weddell Sea Expedition, Southern Ocean, Sea Ice, Sea Ice Observations

Sea Ice Observations currently conducted onboard the S.A. Agulhas II by Stellenbosch University and University of Cape Town.

As the S.A. Agulhas II is currently returning from the Weddell Sea Expedition and the SANAE IV take-over voyage (current position about S 61°12′ E 000°00′), scientist onboard the vessel are still hard at work…

Check out this video and learn more…

 

Click here to see who is onboard, returning form the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019.

Want to see more video’s? Go to Facebook (click here).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 01 March 2019

Antarctica 2018/2019 take-over video series – Meet the ECO

Environmental Conrol Officer, SANAP, South African Antarctic Programme, ECO, Antarctica, Marion Island

It was lovely meeting up with Mpho at SANAE. We’ve spent a take-over together on Marion Island in 2016, after her year on the island as the Environmental Control Officer (ECO) for M72 (2015-2016).

72nd Marion Overwintering Team. Mpho standing in the top row, 2nd from right. Click on the photo to view more detail of the team.

Upon return from her year on Marion Island, there was an opening for an ECO on the 2017/2018 Antarctica take-over. Mpho grabbed this opportunity on with both hands. She’s also been back to Marion Island in 2018, as the take-over ECO and since been employed by the Department of Environmental Affairs, based at the Pretoria office.

VIDEO#2: Meet this take-over’s ECO (Environmental Control Officer) – Mpho Mashau

See playlist on Facebook here: SEASON 1: Antarctica Take-Over 2018/2019 to introduce you to the overwintering team and the support staff of this take-over.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 27 February 2019

Marion Island January 2019 newsletter now available

Marion Island, Newsletter, The Wanderer, Overwintering Team

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

Marion Island, Newsletter, The Wanderer, Overwintering Team

Greetings from our sub-antarctic paradise!

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

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

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

Kind regards,
the Wanderer Editing team

 

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

 

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

Marion Islander taking 2nd place in Young Science Communicators Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video Category (English):

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

Intended platform: Online education platform

Audio Category:

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

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

 

Read more about this competition here.

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

 

Meet the Meteorological observer on the S.A. Agulhas II

SAWS, South African Weather Service, SA Agulhas II, Souther Ocean, Weather

Click on the video video to meet Thapi. She is the meteorological observer of the South African Weather Service (SAWS), currently in the Southern Ocean on-board the S.A. Agulhas II.

Check out how she releases a weather balloon and what data is gained from this operation.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 20 February 2019

SANAP Project News: SOCCO

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern Ocean

SOCCO: Southern Ocean Carbon & Climate Observatory

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern OceanSOCCO. Glider, Southern Ocean

SANAP Project name: How storm characteristics in the Southern Ocean influence inter annual variability of CO2 fluxes

This summer SOCCO conducted the second SOSCEX-Storm glider-based experiment in the Southern Ocean as part of its 3 year science plan. We deployed two carbon wave gliders equipped with our SA-RobOTIC designed and built and pCO2 sensors, which have behaved flawlessly under the most dire conditions that the Southern Ocean could throw at them, which included weekly storms of 80-140km/h winds, waves of 10+m, snow storms and sea temperatures of -1 to 2°C.  During this 2 month period they have taken over 3000 pCO2, pH, temperature and salinity observations. It was a rigorous test for the pCO2 sensors, which have a design feature that is specifically made to cope with Southern Ocean storms. It can be submerged by a wave which will mean that it taken a bit of water through the air intake but when the detectors pick this up it uses it pressurized gas to expel the moisture and continues to provide high quality data.  This deployment was a significant achievement for our SA-RobOTIC engineering and an indication of how our expertise to operate in these conditions has matured and become globally recognized.  This deployment was important for two reasons, it allowed us to start to examine the role of storms in driving the carbon – climate feedback in the Southern Ocean and it is a preparation phase for the SCALE experiment that starts in July 2019.  The hypothesis, which is core to our NRF-SANAP and DST funding, that we are exploring is that climate-linked changes in storm characteristics will play an important role in the century scale carbon – climate feedbacks. Ocean robots and high precision sensors make this science possible.

We have however encountered a problem with the glider deployed at 54°S which is, that while it generated enough power during the peak of summer with nearly 24 hours of daylight, this is no longer the case in February with the sun setting for increasingly long periods – night is arriving in Antarctica.  Wave gliders use solar panels to power the sensors.  The second glider was deployed at 43°S where there is still plenty of sunlight.  In a normal year the gliders would have been picked up by the S.A. Agulhas II coming back from SANAE at about this time but this year the ship is coming back nearly 5 weeks later because it is chartered by a British team to find the Endurance, Shackleton’s ship.  As a matter of interest we are collaborating with some of our aeronautical engineering colleagues at CHPC (Centre for High Performance Computing) to develop an underwater power generator to enable us to make winter (no sunlight) deployments in July 2019.

For this reason we have made the decision to pilot both wave gliders home to Cape Town without the ship.  This will be a journey of 2500km for WG-052 and 1200km for WG-027.  We think this has the added advantage of reducing the risk of damage during retrieval by the ship, which has happened a few times due to the normally difficult conditions on retrieval.  So, wave glider 052 has now left its long term observation position at 54°S on the prime meridian and is heading home towards wave glider 027 which is at 43°S.  It is travelling at a speed of about 100km per day.  The sensors are all working and we will take advantage of this opportunity to conduct an experiment that needs 2 gliders while they are on the way home.  We expect them home in a month, mid-March and we will pick them up in Granger Bay in front of our SA-RobOTIC centre.

SOCCO, Southern Ocean, Gliders

Route of the WG052 and 027 gliders (2019)

The wave gliders were paired with a buoyancy glider each that are making observations down the water column to 1000m 4 – 5 times a day.  This pairing of wave gliders and buoyancy gliders is a SOCCO innovation under the SOSCEX series of experiments since 2013/14.  The two buoyancy gliders will remain on station waiting for ship retrieval in mid-March.

 

– Dr. Pedro M. Scheel Monteiro & SOCCO & SA-RobOTIC team, 18 February 2019

 

SOCCO on Social Media

http://socco.org.za/news/riding-the-waves-home/

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

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)

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.

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

DEA Employee Graduates with another BTech

Every year students within the South African National Antarctic Programme graduates (click here), but this year it is not only students within the programme who graduated with a new degree.

Errol Julies, Engineering Technician at the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) with a BTech (baccalaureus technologiae) Electrical Engineering background, graduated last week with a BTech in Project Management. Congratulations Errol!

Errol Julies graduated with another B.Tech degree at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

 

Errol’s main duty within the South African National Antarctic Programme is ensuring a stable communication network to the various South African Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations (Marion Island, Gough Island and SANAE IV). This is a great responsibility.

 

Errol wants to further his education as he feels that: “the fact that SANAP produces world-class researchers and scientific articles, we need to path the way and create a solid foundation for future scientists”. He also mentions that: “the only way to ensure rock solid foundations is, for those involved in the management of the programme, to always be knowledgeable of new development”.

ALSA also received a special message from Gough Island to Errol:

G64 just want to say congratulations to Errol and a special thank you for coordinating that our parcels from home made it onto the ship that visits Gough Island – message came via Michelle Risi (RSPB Birder, G64).

 

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 17 December 2018

Marion Island November newsletter now available

M75, Marion Island, Newsletters

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

M75, Marion Island, Newsletters

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

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

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

Kind regards,
the Wanderer Editing team

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

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

Antarctica 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

SANAE58 Team member Birthday – Mpati Boleme

Mpati is currently employed within the South African National Antarctic Programme and today she can celebrate her birthday with friends and family at home. Her next birthday will be on the Antarctic Continent, as she is part of the 58th SANAE Overwintering team departing on 06 December 2018 and returning mid-February 2020.

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in SANAP – Happy Birthday Mpati.

Click here.

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, Stellenbosch University, 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.

Happy birthday to SANAE58 team member – Sanele Mkhize

Sanele Mkhize is one of the Diesel Mechanics on the 58th SANAE Overwintering team. Today he can spend his birthday in Cape Town, while still bust with team training. His next birthday will be celebrated with his small team on the Antarctic continent.

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

Click here…

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 26 November 2018.

Blog post initiative by Gough64

The Gough64 team members decided to take turns in writing blog posts, to update family and friends back home.

The first post was written by Cathy Mbazwana, Medic of Gough64.

This blog entry is about team member, Christopher Jones’s birthday party (Click here to read the blog). She also added the sea temperature and climate data for September and October 2018 to this blog post. It is great to hear that your team takes pride in planning and attending each other’s birthday parties. Your team dynamics definitely show positive signs for the year ahead.

Thanks for this great initiative Gough64.

Gough Island 64

We do still hope that the team decides to compile a newsletter in the coming months, but we are excited about this blog initiative and the stories your team will deliver.

Author: Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 20 November 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

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:

SANAE58

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

Welcome home Gough 63

L-R (back): Zach Mogale (Meteorology Technician), Malesedi Ramotando (Meteorology Technician), Jaimie Cleeland (RSPB field assistant), Thabo Maroga (Electrician), Fabrice Le Bouard (Senior RSPB field assistant), Vukile Madlebetsha (Diesel Mechanic), Kate Lawrence (RSPB field assistant); (front) Tom Mc Sherry (Medic), Santjie Du Toit (Senior Meteorology Technician, Team Leader) and Peter Chuku (Communications Engineer, Deputy Team Leader).

The team that departed last year September has arrived in Cape Town on the 13th of October 2018.

This team had a successful year on Gough Island with no serious issues and injuries. They disembarked the ship with high spirits and some even talking about returning to the island in the near future.

With the initiative of mainly two team members, Kate Lawrence and Jaimie Cleeland, the team compiled a book with all their favourite recipes used to fill their tummies during their time on the island (Click here to read more about this initiative).

We welcome the team back and we wish them well. We do hope to see you back in the near future.

Follow ALSA on social media to stay up to date with current happenings within SANAP:

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, 15 October 2018

Marion Island September Newsletter now available

The current Marion Island overwintering team (M75) wrote monthly newsletters since May 2018, when they were left behind on the island after the departure of the take-over crew and previous overwintering team.

These newsletters are not just a great way for family and friends to stay connected with team members, but also a way for people that have never been to the island to learn more about the ins and outs thereof.

Also, for those that have been to the island, especially previous overwintering team members like myself, one can browse through these newsletters and have a chance to reminisce about the past.

In the July issue the team started a ‘Round Island for the readers’ series, where different huts will be visited in every Wanderer issue. In this month’s issue the hut visited is on the western side of the island, which is an ultimate favourite for myself and many other islanders – Mixed Pickle. Read all about the Mixed Pickle hut in the September issue (click here).

Map of Marion Island indicating one of many round island routes and also 8 of the 9 (current) field huts and one of the old huts (Long Ridge hut). The ‘Round island for the readers’ will be conducted anti-clockwise. Please note that names of some peaks have changed over the past few years. (Click here to view the map on the ALSA Archive)

Click here to view all the newsletters published by M75 so far.

 

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 11 October 2018

Weddell Sea Expedition planning meeting

The Weddell Sea Expedition planning meeting is currently underway (9 & 10 October) at the Scott Polar Institute, Cambridge, UK.
South Africa should be extremely proud that our polar vessel, the S.A. Agulhas II, will be used for this voyage. A major part of this expedition will involve the search for Shackleton’s lost ship, the Endurance, which sank in the Weddell Sea in 1915. For more information on the Weddell Sea Expedition, click here.

L-R: Tommy Bornman, Sarah Fawcett, Terence Padayachee, Freddie Lighthelm and Annie Bekker (front). Photo credit: Annie Bekker

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

Need to plan ahead? Here is the S.A. Agulhas II Schedule

SA Agulhas II

Click here to view the preliminary schedules for the S.A. Agulhas II, now until 2021.

Please note that all departure times from Cape Town will be 14:00 (logistics Voyages only).

All schedules are subject to change.

Enquiries to be directed to N. Devanunthan –  021 4059482

 

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 08 October 2018

The 63rd Gough Island team on their way home

63rd Gough Island Overwintering team ready to leave the island. Photo received from: Michelle Risi

The S.A. Agulhas II has departed from Gough Island, yesterday afternoon.

The 64th Gough Island overwintering team will now do the honours of taking care of the South African weather station and the collection of various field and meteorological data.

We would like to wish the team a successful year on the island. May you prosper and achieve all the goals set for you during this take-over.

The S.A. Agulhas II is currently on her way to Tristan da Cunha, where a 48 hour stop-over will made to back-load cargo and passengers. The expected time of departure (ETD) at Tristan da Cunha is 06 October 2018 and the expected time of arrival (ETA) in Cape Town is 11 October 2018.

The 64th Gough Island Overwintering team excited to take over the responsibilities of managing and maintaining the Gough Base for the next 13 months. Photo credit: Michelle Risi

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 02 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

 

 

 

 

Gough 64 departing tomorrow, 6 September 2018

Gough Island 64
Gough64 Team, Team Buff and Team Logo

64th Gough Island Overwintering Team

NamePosition
Xolani NyawoCommunications Engineer - Team Leader
Michelle Risi Birder - Deputy Team Leader
Alexis Osborne Birder
Catherine Mokotji MbazwanaMedic
Christopher JonesBirder
Kabelo MoabiMeteorologist
Karabo Mokwena Meteorologist
Michael NgengangimbiMeteorologist
Innocent MthetwaDiesel Mechanic
Patrick Hlongwane Electrician
Click here to meet the team.
Gough64 Team Training

Photo Credit: Michelle Risi (Gough64 Birder).

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 05 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

Southern Ocean Region Panel (SORP) seeks AFRICAN members

SCAR NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please visit the SORP website.

 

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

64th Gough Overwintering Team – Training

Team training for the 64th Gough Island Overwintering Team commenced on the 13th of August and today the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) joined the training.

During this session the team received historical background (in the form of a timeline) on South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic (SANAE base), sub-Antarctic (Marion base), but most importantly Gough Island – where this team will depart to in 3 weeks’ time.

This team will now become part of South Africa’s Antarctic Legacy and we wish them all the best for their journey on the island.

Click here to download the Gough64 team training schedule.

Meet the 64th Gough Island Overwintering team:

Author: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 20 August 2018

First Day of the 5th SANAP Symposium

The 5th biennial SANAP Symposium is organised by the Cape Penisula University (Kenneth Findlay) and South African National Space Agency (Michael Kosch). The symposium is held in Hermanus this year from tomorrow, 13 Augustus, until Thursday.

During this week, 134 delegates will be attending the symposium. The symposium will provide delegates the opportunity to present their research within the Southern Ocean, Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions.

A public lecture on ‘South Africa’s legacy within the Antarctic region’ will be presented tomorrow at 19:00, in the Hermanus Municipal Auditorium (click here for more information on this event).

First day’s Programme:

For the full programme and abstracts – click here.

For a shortened version of the programme – click here.

 

Author: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 12 August 2018.

SANAP Scientists creates visibility

Sub-Antarctic Landscape Climate Interactions

Sub-Antarctic Landscape-Climate Interactions group

SANAPLCI in Altai Mountains

Professor Werner Nel, Professor David W. Hedding, Liezl Rudolph and Sibusiso Sinuka are currently in Siberia’s Altai Mountains.

They are learning more about the “Natural and human environment of Arctic and Alpine areas: relief, soils, permafrost, glaciers, biota and life style of native ethnic groups in a rapidly changing climate” at the Aktru Summer School and all four of them also had the chance to present their research and do some fieldwork.

The representatives of countries that are attending the summer school had the opportunity to plant a distance board in the mountains and we are proud to see South Africa’s name held high (see photos).

For more information about this summer school – click here.

Article Cover photo: Sibusiso Sinuka, Professor Werner Nel, Professor David W. Hedding, Liezl Rudolph (Marion Island 2017 take-over).

Author: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 20 July 2018.

Do you have a poster at the SANAP Symposium?

The 5th Biannual South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) Symposium will be held from 13 – 16 August 2018, in Hermanus (read more here).

This year there will be a large number of 20 minute oral and digital poster presentations (in a 4 minute speed talk oral format). If you are wondering how to structure your scientific poster for this symposium, make sure to take some tips from the two South African early career scientists awarded with the 1st and 2nd prize for the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) Poster Awards (Sector: Africa and Middle) at POLAR2018 (SCAR/IASC Open Science Conference 2018).

Winner: Luca Stirnimann, University of Cape Town, Poster Title: “The Island Mass Effect (IME) on carbon cycling in the plankton ecosystem around the Prince Edward Islands archipelago”.

Runner-up: Daniela Monsanto, University of Johannesburg, Poster Title: “Genetic patterns at fine spatial scales: complex findings in a complex landscape”.

More about Luca:

Luca is a PhD student at the University of Cape Town who will use the samples collected on the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE) cruise to investigate zooplankton and phytoplankton dynamics in the Southern Ocean in the context of nutrient cycling and primary production. He will compare ecosystem dynamics in the vicinity of Subantarctic island systems with the open Southern Ocean. Luca graduated summa cum laude in Marine Sciences from the University of Genova – Italy and then spent one year at the Plymouth University – UK pursuing an internship and participating in scientific cruises and volunteer schemes. He is passionate about marine life and thinks plankton are important for healthy marine ecosystems and as an indicator of global environmental change.

The goal of Luca’s PhD is to investigate zooplankton and phytoplankton dynamics in the Southern Ocean, in the context of nutrient cycling and primary production, in the vicinity of Subantarctic island systems and in the open Southern Ocean (including within ocean mesoscale features such as eddies). Expected outcomes of this work include a fundamental understanding of the role of zooplankton in the Southern Ocean nitrogen and carbon cycles, as well as information on the functioning of food webs in response to environmental drivers such as changing nutrients concentrations. The major motivation for this work is a better understanding of Antarctic fertility and planktonic system dynamics and their response to the environmental drivers such as changes in nutrient dynamics. Luca’s results will be of value for developing and improving models of plankton and nutrients dynamics, which will ultimately be important for marine policy development, environmental management, particularly for the Prince Edward Islands, a South African Marine Protected Area (MPA), and for a well-developed ocean economy in the context of the Antarctic fisheries.

Luca’s project falls under the current SANAP Project: “A nitrogen cycle view of atmospheric CO2 sequestration in the Antarctic Ocean” (Principal Investigator: Dr SE Fawcett, University of Cape Town).

More about Daniela:

Daniela Monsanto is a young, vibrant researcher working in the Centre for Ecological Genomics and Wildlife Conservation at the University of Johannesburg. She completed her undergraduate and BSc (Hons) studies at UJ, majoring in Zoology and Biochemistry, and when not working on her MSc, is a passionate soccer player (provincial level).

Daniela has been involved in research on sub-Antarctic Marion Island for the past 3 years (her Honours project introduced her to the Southern Ocean jewels). She has a strong passion for her study area, and understanding how the changing climate impacts sub-Antarctic islands and the species inhabiting them. To this end, her Masters project aims to understand how individuals perceive their specific habitat matrix and how this matrix, and changes within it, might affect local movement (in essence, a landscape ecology/genetic approach). Her study organism is Cryptopygus antarcticus travei, a springtail endemic to the Prince Edward Islands. Her results uncovered complex genetic patterns at the scale of tens to hundreds of meters, with genetic discontinuities between sites separated by less than 20 meters. These complex spatial patterns are potentially driven by microhabitat preferences and/or local adaptations to a heterogeneous landscape across Marion Island. Daniela is taking her research a step further and is in the process of annotating the full genome of C. a. travei; once done, she will be able to identify regions that may be linked to adaptive genes/traits, and use this information to better understand genomic adaptations across different environmental gradients.

Daniela’s project falls under the current SANAP Project: “Biocomplexity: Understanding biological patterns in space and time” (Principal Investigator: Prof B van Vuuren, University of Johannesburg).

 

Authors: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), Luca Stirnimann (University of Cape Town) and Daniela Monsanto (University of Johannesburg), 10 July 2018.

Are you the next South African SCAR Fellow?

Application deadline for the 2018 SCAR Fellowships extended until 25 July 2018.

Are you an emerging researcher? Then this is for you.

“The SCAR Fellowship Programme is for PhD students, or those within five years of having completed a PhD, to undertake research at major international laboratories, field facilities, and/or institutes in or operated by SCAR member countries with the goal to expose them to recent advances in research and to develop long-term scientific links and partnerships. The work must be carried out in a research group of a SCAR member country different from that of the applicant’s origin and current residence. Fellowships are awarded purely on the selection criteria for competitive selection, which are clearly stated in the Evaluation section on the Detailed Information page. Advice on applying to the SCAR and COMNAP Fellowship schemes is available from the Mentoring page.” (SCAR)

SCAR has worked with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists to provide an online form which can be used to ask questions about the application process, required documentation and eligibility etc. and which can also be used anonymously. The replies will be added to the FAQ section of the Fellowships webpages. (SCAR.org)

DEADLINE: 25 July 2018

Interesting fact: The South African, Ryan Reisinger received a SCAR Fellowship in 2016. (Read more here).

Are you the next South African being awarded a SCAR Fellowship? Apply today!

South Africa’s class afloat – SEAmester

SEAmester, class afloat, floating university, SA Agulhas II

“It seems almost yesterday that I approached the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) to consider funding a Floating University that would be open to all University and Technikon postgraduate students” says Associate Professor and Head of Oceanography Isabelle Ansorge “and here we are planning our third year”!

SEAmester aims to introduce marine science as an applied and cross-disciplinary field to students who have shown an affinity for these core science disciplines. It combines traditional class-room lectures with hands-on ship-based deck activities for the students, while providing them with opportunities to network with and support specialist scientists in recognised marine research activities. The programme strives to gain greater awareness of the oceans’ physical and ecological response to climate change. To date, since the first cruise in 2016 over 120 students from 23 universities and technikons around South Africa as well as over 54 lecturers have participated in SEAmester. As an example – the lectures range from space weather to ocean plastics to marine microbiology to ocean instrumentation. Going hand-in-hand with the lectures are specially designed experiments which are linked to the mornings classroom lecture – so for plastics the students then spend a few hours towing a net over the side, after a lecture on the seafloor we tow a dredge to see what comes up from over 400 m deep, students learn to count seabirds, study and forecast weather patterns and get to grips with calibrating oceanographic data.

What makes SEAmester so unique is that its open to any national postgraduate student. In the past access to the SA Agulhas II was only possible if your supervisor had a grant through the South African National Antarctic Programme – Naturally this was limited to only a few Universities who undertook polar research – so this meant that students studying mangrove swamps at the University of Zululand for instance would never have a chance to go onboard the SA Agulhas II – SEAmester removes those restrictions! The participating students come from a range of backgrounds and for majority of these students it is their first time out at sea – a truly life changing event! SEAmester is funded until 2020 but its hoped to become a flagship DST project in marine education.

The next cruise: 16 July – 27 July 2018 (click here for more information).

 

Professor Isabelle Ansorge and Tahlia Henry, Oceanography Department University of Cape Town, 02 July 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

 

This website has been live for the past month!

Today, one month ago, the new SANAP website went live after almost a year of planning and designing.

Where it all started:

In the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research Plan of 2014-2024 (Skelton 2014) under section five: Constraints, the following was identified:

1.5.4. Communications:

“The SANAP website, as the first point of entry for web-based searches should also be managed by a dedicated staff member, and should be kept topical and up to date. This should form part of an overall infrastructure strategy”.

The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research Plan of 2014-2024 underpins and informed the Marine and Antarctic Research Plan along with a Marine Research Plan for the same period. These are guiding documents that direct our research agenda in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean.  

The South African National Antarctic Programme (South Africa’s National Antarctic Scientific Programme) is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and implemented by the National Research Foundation (NRF) (Fig. 1). The SANAP programme’s logistic and environmental aspects are managed by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), situated at the East Pier of the Cape Town Harbour – where the S.A. Agulhas II docks when home.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) addressed the recommendation in section 1.5.4 by appointing the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa to manage the SANAP website and ensure that the information therein is kept up to date.

The SANAP website now has a brand new look and will be the the first point of entry for web-based searches, nationally and internationally.

Figure 1: SANAP within the governmental structure of South Africa.

S.A. Agulhas II Open Day

The Department of Environmental Affairs invites you to bring your entire family to come and experience a fun-filled day at the SA Agulhas II Open Day:

Date: 09 June 2018
Venue: Port of Durban
Open 09h00 – Close 15h00

You and your family will have the unique opportunity of taking a tour of the SA Agulhas II research vessel. We also have our partners from the marine and maritime industry who will showcase their environmental work and scientific work.

The event is suitable for all ages, and our venue is wheelchair friendly.

Download your  FREE ticket from:

https://www.quicket.co.za/events/47107-sa-agulhas-ii-open-day/#/

Bereavement Notice – Mr Bigboy Joseph

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.