Thursday, 27 September 2012

Who's Who: APECS Oceania Expeditioner Research Profiles

A special thank you to AAD science reporter Dr Wendy Pyper who is covering the SIPEX II voyage.  In her latest blog entries she gives some insight into the research of APECS Oceania members currently journeying across the Southern Ocean aboard the Aurora Australis.

Follow the link to her blog and learn more about the projects of Post Doc researcher Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas, plus PhD students Molly Jia, Rob Johnson and Sarah Ugalde.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

SIPEX-II Update, from 22 September 2012

We've received the latest news from Molly aboard the Aurora Australis! For those keen to keep extra tabs on the ship's journey - and you have an iPhone or iPad - head on over to the App Store and search 'Antarctic Voyages'.

The free app provides a track of the ship along with a new webcam from the bridge every half hour.  You'll also be able to view daily sitreps and the information from fixed sensors that gives the underway data sets.  All information comes from the Australian Antarctic Division.

22nd Sep, Day Eight
We are crossing the line!! 60 degrees SOUTH!
Day eight is a big day, since it’s the crossing-line day and
Saturday. We are having so much exciting stuff happening in one day.
Event one – the 60-degrees baptism! As part of cultural tradition on
the Aurora, when the ship crosses the 60-degree-south line, all the
freshmen are demanded to attend a special baptism as a ceremony. As
the famous ancient saying about Southern Ocean - “No laws below 50S.
No police below 60S.” reveals, the sea gets severely angry when the
sailors cross certain lines. In old times, it must have been a huge
thing for the crews travelling with wooden boats to survive after a
long voyage. Anyway, it’s not the case in a modern voyage. Until
today, we are all surviving really well with the amazing buffet and
facilities on the Aurora. 
Our wonderful and incredible crew have new ideas every voyage to
“torture” the new recruits for an afternoon-tea entertainment for the
entire ship. This year, the ceremony involved worshipping the blue
pirate king and his colourful fellows. Names were announced by the
Death, we then knelt down and kissed the king’s foot, drank some
special blue beverage, kissed the king’s fellow - a blue giant fish,
and last, were showered with a yellowish porridge-like mixture with
unknown ingredients (somehow it had a strong coffee and chickpea

Event two – Assassins
To celebrate the “Law-free” zone, we started a killing game, the aim
is to kill all your shipmates and stay alive alone.
Rules of Assassins
You don’t talk about Assassins.
You don’t talk about Assassins. 
You DO NOT talk about Assassins! 
Very simple, put your name in a bag, and pick a name from there, and
“kill” the person on the ship by saying “bang you’re dead” (anywhere
apart from his/her working place or cabin).
Event three – First beer on the ship
Since the Aurora is now a “dry ship”, we can only have limited
alcohol on special occasions. Today as we reached the special
latitude, it was a good excuse to have one or two beers to celebrate
with some very nice Italian food, good pizza and Tiramisu for
Event Four – First Iceberg
As part of the social committee on board, Jess MT started an Iceberg
sweep – to guess what day and what time we will pass by our first
iceberg. The rules are very strict. We have the ship radar to
identify the iceberg and to time the occasion when we pass by it at
90 degrees from the boat’s direction. It happened tonight! 18:45, we
sighted our first iceberg on the port side of the boat, about 4 miles
away. A nice small berg with two peaks. Murray Dovey (Ship master)
defeated Klaus (our chief scientist) by 15 mins to take out the
sweep. Klaus was even thinking to stop the ship to win the game ?   
Stay tuned for photos!
Don't forget to check out the official SIPEX-II website from Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems 
Cooperative Research Centre and the blog of Dr Wendy Pyper from the AAD. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

SIPEX II Update 14-17 September 2012

The first update from Sea Ice Physics Ecosystem eXperiment (SIPEX II) has
arrived from the APECS Oceania members taking part.

64 scientists and researchers are taking part in this year's voyage, the follow up to the first SIPEX expedition in 2007.  The expedition members represent France, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Canada and the United States of America.  Research projects cover various fields including atmospheric science, sea ice physics, ecology, trace metal chemistry, biology and biogeochemistry.

SIPEX Diary:

At 10pm on the 14th of September, after hugging, photographing, and waving
handkerchiefs to families and friends on the wharf for almost one hour, we finally made our departure with the orange Australian icebreaker – the Aurora Australis.

We had a busy day to run around, drop our bags, drink our last beer(s) before departure, and kiss everyone goodbye. Hobart is very pretty in the night with scattered lights all over the mountains.

16th September, Day Two

Woke up at 4.30 for a wee sky watching with our American atmosphere scientist – Steve (apparently also a fine astrologist), then followed with a gym session (yes, we have a gym on board!!).

The 2nd day on the Aurora Australis, we are still hanging around in southern Tassie waters, to enjoy the last bit of warm sunshine and the calm ocean, play music and yoga-stretching on the heli-deck while waiting for tests for all the instruments before we really start our journey heading South.

It seems we have a tiny folk-band on board. Guitars + ukulele + harmonica + mandolin + “mouth harp” (Ginbarde in French and it’s probably better to keep it in French) + "sansi" (an African instrument), a SIPEX theme song is highly possible at the end of two months!

17th September, Day Three
We are OFF!!
Inductions start

All the tests were going well, and we officially start heading South!! Yeaaah!

The boat is busy filled with all different briefings and inductions basically for everything. Every single little thing happening on the ship needs a proper instruction Induction for using the life-jacket, induction for going to the galley, induction for access to certain parts of the boat, induction for working in the lab, induction for working on the ice (as girls, we also had a tiny induction about how to pee on the ice…keep practising in your shower before really use it!) etc.

As part of everyone's gear, the simple water bottle we got also has complete instructions printed on it, very thoughtful for geeks and nerds who cannot use a plastic bottle properly ?
Hydrate or die!

1. Hold the bottle;
2. Unscrew the lid;
3. Place bottle under tap;
4. Fill bottle;
5. Drink contents;
6. Refill bottle;
7. Repeat above steps throughout the day x 4

Do you ever know you need repeat drinking four times a day to keep hydrated?

Btw, our DVD library (the ex-on-board-BAR) is open! It’s very entertaining to see piles of DVD boxes sitting behind a bar instead of all the glasses and real alcohol.

Also check out the blog of Dr Wendy Pyper, science reporter at the Australian Antarctic Division, as she covers SIPEX-II aboard the Aurora Australis.

The Science of Sea Ice

The Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystem eXperiment II (SIPEX-II) is underway in the Southern Ocean, and APECS Oceania is represented aboard the Australian Antarctic Division's research vessel.

Molly Jia (UTAS), Rob Johnson (UTAS), Jessica Melbourne-Thomas (UTAS), and Sarah Ugalde (UTAS) are taking part in the voyage this year.

Stay tuned to this blog and our Facebook page for their reports on the research activities and life at sea.

You can also follow Australian Antarctic Division science reporter Dr Wendy Pyper through her blog on the AAD website:

The SIPEX website through the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC has a wealth of information relating to the 2007 SIPEX voyage.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Speed Meet-a-Geek at Antarctica New Zealand

APECS Oceania is organising a networking event for participants at the Antarctica New Zealand conference running 4 & 5 October 2012 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

If you are attending the conference and keen to meet the wider APECS community, be sure to take part in this event!  Accept the challenge of describing your research in 3 minutes to a fellow scientist then listen to their own 3 minute summary.

Title: Speed Meet-a-Geek
When: 5:05PM, 4 October 2012
Where: Igloo Bar, Hagley Park, Christchurch (city centre), New Zealand

location map and venue details:

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Polar News

UNH Researcher Aids Terra Nova Shipwreck Discovery
09 September 2012
from, underwater tech and ocean science news

Deep Sea Lighthouse Lure Antarctic Krill
10 September 2012
from the Australian Antarctic Division


Icelandic president discusses China-Iceland relations at Arctic summit
11 September 2012
from Public Radio International


Sea Shepherd's new campaign underway
11 September 2012
from The West Australian

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Call for Submissions - The Places We've Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35

Publication opportunity for graduate students and young professionals
Deadline for Submissions: 15 October 2012

Asha Veal Brisbois, editor at The Places We've Been, is seeking submissions from under 35s working in polar regions either as graduates or early career professionals for a new independent publication, The Places We've Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35.

See below for project information and links.



The Places We've Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35 is looking for nonfiction narratives that challenge conventional tourism. Our summary line goes as such:

From West Africa to Vietnam, Tokyo to Paris, the book's focus is to show the distinctive niche of travel experiences that defines our wide peer group, and how we've learned to engage the global community of an increasingly small world.

More information on the project is linked here:

Full Submissions Call:

"This is all very intriguing," you may by now be thinking (we hope!). "But who are you?"
Operating since 2012, The Places We've Been, LLC, is an independent publisher, dedicated to literary portrayals of the diverse experiences of human existence. The Places We've Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35 is our inaugural project-and namesake.

The purpose of The Places We've Been is to work with varied and ambitious new writers to develop and then publish, promote, and distribute unique work. Specific areas of interest are literary fiction and nonfiction, with four books set for release in 2013. In June, The Places We've Been was noted as a "fresh local startup" in Crain's Chicago Business:

Please feel free to be in touch with any questions or for more information.
asha veal brisebois
publisher at The Places We've Been, LLC
wk 312.376.8276

Free Public Forum - "Politics at the End of the World: a public forum on the future of Antarctica"

Title: Politics at the End of the World: a public forum on the future of Antarctica
Date: Thursday, 13 September 2012, 6:00PM-7:30PM
Venue: General Lecture Theatre, The Quadrangle, University of Sydney

*** Free event, however registration is required.  Please visit the university website to access the registration link and for venue location details. 

Monday, 3 September 2012

Job Opportunity - Trust Secretary, Antarctic Heritage Trust, Canterbury

APECS Oceania has been alerted to the following professional opportunity.

Title: Trust Secretary, Antarctic Heritage Trust
Location: Canterbury, New Zealand
Application Deadline: Monday, 10 September 2012

For position details and application information: