EOAS exploring the Antarctic

November 4, 2022

This month, three EOAS faculty have embarked on separate expeditions in the Antarctic. 

Members of Professor Evgeny Pakhomov's lab are studying the influence of Salpa thompsoni, a gelatinous zooplankton, on the marine carbon cycle. These salps partake in one of the largest migrations on Earth as they traverse from the depths of the Southern Ocean to the surface to feed at night and return to the darker ocean layers each morning, transporting significant amounts of organic carbon with them to the deep ocean. Evgeny's team, including graduate students, Alexis Bahl and Florian Luskow, will use acoustic instruments and nets to monitor the migratory behavior of these zooplankton. Their work is sponsored by the National Geographic Society and will take place on the Alfred Wegner Institute research ship, the Polarstern. You can read more about their research here and in the Vancouver Sun

Assistant Professor Anais Orsi will be traveling with her team to some of the coldest and windiest locations on the planet–eastern Antarctica in the Adélie Land. Here, they will investigate how strong winds shape Antarctic ice sheets and collect ice cores to study the variability of these winds over the past 100 - 200 years. Following work in the Adélie Land, Dr. Orsi and her team will travel to a site known as ‘Little Dome C’ and join efforts to extract the oldest ice core to date, hopefully containing ice over one million years old. Atmospheric gasses, such as CO2, trapped in the ice core provide a record of Earth’s climate and will be used to study shifts in the periodicity of Earth’s ice ages. Read more about their work here.

Department Head and Professor Philippe Tortell is headed to the Antarctic Peninsula by way of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island onboard the M/V Magellan. Onboard, Philippe will monitor the basic oceanographic features (i.e. temperature and salinity) of the surface water along the cruise track using a thermosalinograph (TSG). Philippe will deliver science lectures that focus on the interactions between the Southern Ocean and Earth’s climate, particularly as they relate to carbon uptake by marine photosynthesis and distributions of greenhouse gasses, methane and nitrous oxide, in the water column. This expedition is sponsored by WorldWide Quest and provides a unique opportunity to conduct oceanographic research  during an alumni cruise that is primarily focused on education and adventure. You can read more about his trip here