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 group

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

“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