Science education and communication at sea

November 4, 2022
Dr. Philippe Tortell at sea

Last week, Professor and department head Philippe Tortell set sail for the Western Antarctic Peninsula aboard the M/V Magellan. Departing from the Falkland Islands, the ship will journey to South Georgia Island, a biodiversity hotspot rich with marine life including elephant seals and king penguins, before reaching the Antarctic Peninsula. 

The expedition, chartered by WorldWide Quests, is an alumni cruise primarily focused on education and adventure. Dr. Tortell is onboard as a Science Leader and Expert and will be delivering science lectures that focus on the interactions between the Southern Ocean and Earth’s climate. These discussions include topics such as the role that carbon uptake by marine photosynthesis plays in climate regulation, and the effects of dissolved greenhouse gasses in the ocean. 

In addition to his science communication and education position onboard, Dr. Tortell will monitor critical oceanographic variables, such as temperature, salinity, and surface water oxygen saturation. Temperature and salinity, measured with a Thermosalinograph (TSG) system, are used to track distinct water masses. The surface layer oxygen saturation, measured with an oxygen optode and Gas Tension Device, reveals the net photosynthetic productivity of the surface water. This is the first time such measurements will be made on the M/V Magellan, and may pave the way for future research opportunities onboard cruise vessels. 

Read more about Dr. Philippe Tortell’s trip here.