Spring Cruise 2019 – onboard the S.A. Agulhas II

On 12 October 2019, the S.A. Agulhas II departed on the first ever cruise to the Marginal Ice Zone during spring. This is a very exciting cruise with 97 participants onboard, representing 17 nationalities and 19 different scientific institutions.

Scientific institutions taking part in this dedicated science expedition, funded by the Department of Science and Technology  (DST) through the National Research Foundation (NRF):

1. University of Cape Town
2. Stellenbosch University
3. South African Weather Service
4. Cape Peninsula University of Technology
5. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
6. Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
7. BirdLife South Africa

8. Plymouth Marine Laboratory
9. University of Exeter
10. University of Gothenburg, Sweden
11. University of Pretoria
12. University of Brest – LEMAR – IUEM
13. The University of Melbourne, Australia
14. University of Adelaide, Australia
15. Uppsala University, Sweden
16. Alfred Wegener Institute
17. Florida State University
18. New York University Abu Dhabi

19. Old Dominion University

This 47 day long cruise is managed by Dr Thomas Ryan-Keogh (CSIR), Chief Scientist onboard the vessel.

Meet Dr Thomas (Tommy) Ryan-Keogh:

During this cruise the following integrated scientific fields will be investigated (as stipulated in the sailing orders):

AIR-SEA-ICE FLUXES

The exchange of gases, aerosols, heat and momentum is a key factor influencing long-term climate variability and trends. These fluxes are critical to understanding the links between carbon and climate, aerosols and albedo and the influence of terrestrial particles on ocean biogeochemistry.

BIOLOGICAL CARBON PUMP

Changes in climate are likely to affect the composition, abundance, and productivity of   phytoplankton, with feedbacks that threaten the  ecosystem  services  they  provide,  namely sustaining biodiversity, fueling the food web and fisheries, and mediating global climate through an altered efficiency of the biological carbon pump.

PHYSICS TO TOP PREDATORS

The Southern Ocean is subject to strong frontal (meso to sub-mesoscale)  activity  due  to  the instability of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Nutrient pulses associated  with  frontal  dynamics have the ability to propagate throughout the food chain from lower trophic levels (phytoplankton) to top predators (seabirds and marine mammals).

DECADAL CHANGES IN OCEAN INTERIOR

The Meridional Overturning Circulation is a global reaching system of surface and deep  ocean currents. It is the primary mechanism for the transport and storage of heat, carbon, salt, freshwater and nutrients (including geotrace elements) between ocean basins; connecting the surface ocean and atmosphere with the huge reservoir of the deep sea.

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS FOR POLAR ENGINEERING

To advance the scientific basis for ice-going vessels, the S.A. Agulhas II has been the subject of full-scale engineering measurements since 2012. These measurements focus on structural dynamics of the hull and propulsion systems, wave slamming and human comfort. The sensor infrastructure and advanced data analytics position the ship as an ideal platform to explore digital twin technology to assess the state and behaviour of the vessel in near real time within its operational context. These powerful platforms promise to advance education, research, innovation and industrial development related to shipping, oceans and polar research.

To find out more about SCALE (Southern oCean seAsonaL Experiment) and the key research objectives of the cruise – visit www.scale.org.za.

 

Follow @SCALExperiment on Twitter for cruise updates.

 

 

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

Attention SCAR scientific community

Ant-ICON Science and Implementation Plan

Dear Colleagues,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the best

Aleks and Mecha

Dr. Aleks Terauds

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

Chief Officer – SCAR Standing Committee on the Antarctic Treaty System

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

4th International sub-Antarctic Forum – registration opening soon

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

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

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

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

Registrations and abstract submissions are yet to open.

 

Regards

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

 

FROM THE WEBSITE

There is nothing sub about the sub-Antarctic!


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

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

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

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

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

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

SA Agulhas II departs on 2019 relief voyage to Gough Island

The S.A. Agulhas II departed from the Port of Cape Town at around 10pm, 02 September 2019 and will return on 07 October 2019. Click here to view the voyage schedule.

Who is onboard:

  • The 65th Gough Island overwintering team – this team will be joined by the Gough64 field assistants forming part of Gough65.
  • Scientists from South African Weather Service, University of Pretoria and Nelson Mandela University.
  • Advanced party of the Gough Island Restoration Team led by Andrew Callender (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds).
  • Team to deploy the new Gough Island emergency hut led by Dr Guy Preston.
  • Team of the Department of Public Works.
  • Logistics and coordinating team from the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF).
  • Passengers on their way to Tristan da Cunha.
  • Read more here.

Meet Gough65:

Team MemberPosition
Mr Errol Julies Communication/Electronics Engineer and Team Leader
Mr Thendo Sikhwari Senior Meteorological Technician and Deputy Team Leader
Ms Michelle Risi-Jones Field Assistant and Deputy Team Leader- Scientific
Mr Dylan SeatonMeteorological Technician
Ms Siyasanga MphehleMeteorological Technician
Mr Thabiso MaphumuloElectrician
Mr Bubele NongwejanaMedical Orderly
Mr Gilbert KgangDiesel Mechanic
Mr Christopher JonesField Assistant
Mr Alexis OsborneField Assistant

L-R: Bubele Nongwejana, Thabiso Maphumulo, Gilbert Kgang, Errol Julies, Thendo Sikhwari, Siyasanga Mphehle and Dylan Seaton.

Field assistants: Michelle Risi-Jones, Alexis Osborne and Christopher Jones. Photo Credit: Michelle Risi-Jones.

 

Meet the team leader and deputy team leader of Gough65

 

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

 

Sound & Vibration research currently onboard the S.A. Agulhas II

It is the last week of the SCALExperiment Winter Cruise of 2019. Here’s what the engineers of Stellenbosch University are currently doing onboard the S.A. Agulhas II.

Observations of stern and bow slamming done from the SAAII bridge.

During the SCALE Voyyage to Antarctica, the Sound and Vibration Group has been conducting full scale measurements using accelerometers placed on the S.A. Agulhas II. Wave observations have been conducted to estimate the height and frequency of the waves encountered by the vessel. With this, slamming observations have been conducted. When the vessel is experiencing slamming the team is tasked to rate the slam according to the comfort experienced.

The team has conducted ship manoeuvers in open water while stationary and moving at various speeds. This was done to investigate under which wave states the vessel experiences slamming.

The team is also investigating human comfort onboard the vessel. Passengers fill in daily motion sickness and slamming surveys. In addition to this a head acoustic dummy, Mike, has been measuring the sound experienced in a passenger cabin.

Information received from: Prof Annie Bekker, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University,  05 August 2019

Photos: supplied by Sound and Vibration Group 

Why is the Maties TracEx-group currently on the SCALExperiment Winter Cruise of 2019?

Jean Loock and Johan Viljoen, Stellenbosch University doctoral candidates currently onboard the S.A. Agulhas II, gave some insight on why the TracEx -group is so interested in studying the Southern Ocean during winter and the particular interest in the seasonal sea-ice.

“Phytoplankton are microorganisms that help regulate global climate through carbon dioxide uptake as they photosynthesise. To do this they require nutrients but in the remote oceans food is scarce, resulting in fierce competition and poor growth of these plankton. However, within the seasonal sea-ice that grows during winter and extends northwards from Antarctica, a thriving little community of microorganisms exist.

Our team is looking to analyze the snow layer on the ice, the ice itself and the water below the ice in an attempt to understand how these nutrients are concentrating within the ice. It may be that during the summer melting phase, these nutrients are expelled from the ice and provide the food required for large scale blooms of phytoplankton and thereby improved carbon dioxide uptake. These curious cases are crucial to improving our understanding of the climate system in a changing environment”.

Follow the TracEx Group on Facebook and Twitter.

Preparing the Mini Geotraces CTD Rosette before the cruise:

On the day of the first launch, during the #SCALExperiment #WinterCruise2019 .

Team TracEx getting ready to deploy their new mini CTD rosette in ice conditions to collect water samples to study the trace metals in the water column below ice. Photo Credit: Johan Viljoen.

 

For more information on #SCALExperiment #WinterCruise2019  – click here.

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

 

Current event: SCALE Winter Cruise 2019

SCALE, WinterCruise2019

Cruise Date: 18 July 2019 until 12 August 2019.

Do you want to know more about this year’s SCALE (Southern oCean seAsonal Experiment) Winter Cruise, which is multi-disciplinary, multi-institution, multi-national research conducted in the Southern Ocean?

Click on the media brief below for more information:

For more information on this year’s scientific programme and to meet the national and international partners part the cruise – click here.

Check out the following hashtags on social media:

#SCALExperiment and #WinterCruise2019

 

SEAmester IV – photos and more

SEAmester2019, SEAmester, SEAmester IV

On the 1st of July 2019, 41 students from various universities across South Africa have set sail from the Port of Cape Town, onboard the S.A. Aghulus II, as part of the annual SEAmester course run by Prof Isabelle Ansorge from the Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town. Assisting her onboard is Tahlia Henry, programme coordinator; watch this interview with Tahlia just before departure.  Students who are in the marine field of study and who make it through the hundreds of applications get the fantastic opportunity to participate in this 11-day South African class afloat. The cruise travels up the coast to Port Elizabeth where the vessel turns into the deeper oceans in order to travel along the ASCA line. The line plots its course at certain intervals, where CTD (conductivity, temperature and depth) tests are done.

While students are onboard the days are filled with a selection of lectures and practicals, run by leaders in the field of marine science. The practicals give students some hands-on experience within their field of interest, for example students get to partake in CTD observations where the CTD is lowered to different depths at different points along the cruise to measure depth, salinity and temperature. These observations are done in order to gain a better understanding of the Aghulus current. The South African Weather Service also has a meteorological technician/forecaster onboard, demonstrating the release of a weather balloon, while informing students on the data gathered from the radiosonde (box attached to the balloon gather certain data) – view this video to  learn more about weather observations from the S.A. Agulhas II. Other practicals onboard include; dissections on marine mammals, parasitology studies, seafloor sediments studies, mammal observations and micro plastic sampling.

Surrounded by the blue ocean looking left, right, backwards and forwards reminds one of the vastness of the ocean.  Sunrises and sunsets are most definitely a highlight for students as they are able to watch the sun break through the horizon from the monkey deck.

The cruise has thus far experienced some great weather in the first few days, but we did end up face to face with a cold front. It was a slightly bumpy ride to say the least as the vessel had to navigate its way through 9m swells and 40 knot winds.

The vessel is expected to back in the Port of Cape Town by morning, 11 July 2019.

S.A. Ahulhas II moving through calm waters. Photo Credit: Alex Oelofse.

All photo supplied by the photographer onboard the vessel: Alex Oelofse.

Author: Alex Oelofse, Photographer onboard the vessel. Edited by: Anché Louw, 09 July 2019.

Departure: SA’s Class Afloat – SEAmester IV 2019

The 4th SEAmester cruise departed from the port of Cape Town on the 1st of July 2019.

This year’s class consists of 41 students in total, including postgraduate students from all over South Africa and a few international students.

During this 11 day cruise along the coast of South Africa, on the S.A. Agulhas II, students will learn all about marine science through theoretical classroom learning and applying this knowledge through ship-based and hands-on research. Find out more about SEAmester here.

We would like to wish all the students and lecturers onboard the vessel another successful programme.

VIDEO: Meet the programme coordinator, Tahlia Henry.

Note: SEAmester is a Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation funded SANAP (South African National Antarctic Programme) project.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 03 July 2019

SANAP researcher travels to NYC to communicate science during oceans week

Katherine Hutchinson (Postdoctoral Researcher, Oceanography at L’Ocean University of Cape Town) was one of the 48 expedition members, part of the Weddell Sea Expedition of 2019. During this expedition scientists did the first ever sampling on the A68 ice berg, that broke off of Larsen C ice shelf in July 2017. 

Meet all the South Africans that was part of the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019: click here.

Her research ‘explores the role of the ocean in possibly driving basal melting and thus destabilising the ice shelf making it more prone to loss via massive calving events’ like the event mentioned above.

She is currently in New York sharing her knowledge on ocean conservation (click here for more information on this event). She compares the size of ice berg A68 with Manhattan, which is 180 times the size of this part of the city and most probably the best way to create a sense of scale.

Weddell Sea Expedition

Top photo: Katherine Hutchinson, second from the left.

Tomorrow, 8 June, is World Oceans Day and is also a Commemorative event in South Africa. We need to protect and conserve our oceans. Read more about World Oceans Day here.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 June 2019.

Welcome home Marion75 and take-over personnel

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Marion75, M75, Marion Island, Overwintering Team

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

 

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

Announcement: 4th International Forum on the sub-Antarctic

Date: 29 – 30 July 2020

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

Sessions include:

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

Website: Click here.

Follow subant2020 on Twitter!

SANAP Project News: SOCCO Gliders Home

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern Ocean

Our Wave Gliders have arrived back from the Southern Ocean.  Last Friday 5th April we picked up our second carbon Waveglider WG027 a few tens of metres from the breakwater in Granger Bay at the end of an exciting but problem free transit of 1500km from the Sub-Antarctic Zone (43oS 8oE)(Video).  Its twin WG052 had completed its even longer transit of 2800km from the Polar Upwelling Zone (54oS OoE) 9 days earlier.  Both units arrived in excellent shape in what was a first for us, bringing our gliders home with a ship pick-up.  Both gliders completed 4-month long missions of which 10 weeks were sampling at their respective locations and 6 weeks transiting back to Cape Town.

VIDEO: WG052 waiting to be picked up off Granger Bay in a cold misty morning in Cape Town a couple of weeks ago after its 2800km epic from 54oS.

Bringing the gliders home under their own means opens the door towards the direction of reducing the dependency on ships and reduces the long-term costs of long-term observations.  It is a significant technical challenge for the robots and the engineers.  The biggest problems we encountered, apart from the vicious storms, were the very strong mesoscale jets west of the Agulhas retroflection area.  Jets with flow speeds of over 2kn posed navigation challenges for the pilots but we also learned much from the experience and despite a few necessary deviations (Figure 1a,b) that probably added a week to the transit we got them home in really good shape (Figure 2).

The decision to bring them home was shaped by two main considerations: firstly, we wanted to avoid the expensive physical damage to the gliders that often happens with ship recovery, especially under the typically rough conditions in the Southern Ocean.  As it turned out we made the right call especially for WG052 which would have been all but impossible to retrieve such were the conditions.  Secondly, we wanted to evaluate if wave gliders can be combined to address mesoscale differences in the response of the ocean to synoptic scale atmospheric forcing.

As mentioned in earlier posts each of these gliders was paired with a buoyancy glider over the entire period of deployment at their respective long-term observational sites in the SAZ and the PUZ as part of two NRF-funded SOCCO SOSCEX-Storm projects.  This pairing enabled us to simultaneously observe the air-sea fluxes of CO and the ocean physics dynamics that influence them in the upper 1000m of the ocean.  This is necessary because it is not clear how important these ocean dynamics are in predicting the climate sensitivity of the carbon cycle in the Southern Ocean.   This learning will be used to improve the Earth System Models used to predict regional and global climate change, particularly the South African CSIR-VrESM model being developed as a collaboration between SOCCO, Global Change Institute-Wits University and the MaRe Institute at UCT.

All the instruments were fully operational over the entire time and the initial look at the data suggests that we have excellent accuracy and precision.  This was the first operational test for our newly developed VeGAS pCO2 units on both gliders and we will do a deep dive into the data later this week.

This science work would not have been possible without the expertise and dedication of our engineering partners at Sea Technology Services who run SA-RobOTIC and their student engineers.

 

– Dr. Pedro M. Scheel Monteiro & SOCCO & SA-RobOTIC team, 08 April 2019 (posted 16 April 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 van Vuuren was nominated as the Committee Chair, Tracy Klarenbeek as Vice-Chair and Dr Gilbert Siko representing the Department of Science and technology.

Life Sciences Standing Committee of SCAR

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

Physical Sciences Standing Committee of SCAR

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

Geosciences Standing Committee of SCAR

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

Social Sciences and Humanities Standing Committee of SCAR

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

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

 

 

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

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

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

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

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

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

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

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

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)

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

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)

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

SEAmester 2019 Applications now open

Call for student and lecturer applications

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

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

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

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS : 5 APRIL 2019

 

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

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/

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

 

S.A. Agulhas II with SANAE58 onboard heading South

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

Track the S.A. Agulhas II here.

The voyage schedule is as follows:

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

 

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

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

 

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

Antarctica Season Launch 2018

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

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

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

Day 4, Thursday 06 December 2018

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

Day 5, Friday 07 December 2018

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

Call Announcement – Belmont Forum

Belmont, Call Announcement, Oceans2018

Belmont, Call Announcement, Oceans2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Call Timeline:

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

Click here for more information.

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

South African Delegates attending the 37th Annual CCAMLR Meeting

What is CCAMLR?

Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources

The role of CCAMLR?

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

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

Where does South Africa fit in?

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

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

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

 

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

22 October – 02 November 2018 | Hobart, Tasmania.

Click here for more information.

 

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

2019 SANAP Postgrad Positions

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

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

Keep an eye out for related postgrad positions here.

 

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

Happy Women’s Month

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

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

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

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

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

Who is the Principal Investigator (PI)

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

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

To all the women who:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Author: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 28 August 2018

Dr Gansen Pillay statement at 5th SANAP Symposium

FIFTH SANAP SYMPOSIUM : OPENING REMARKS (13 August 2018)

Gansen Pillay PhD

 

DCEO: Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA)

 

Distinguished Participants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

END

 

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

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

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