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Science Update

October 2018




We are currently recruiting for a Science Programme Advisor to join the Antarctica New Zealand team. This permanent position plays an important role in supporting the delivery of the Antarctic science programme. This involves reviewing requests for logistics support from external researchers, articulating their needs to Antarctica New Zealand’s planning and operations team and assisting with developing field plans, and coordinating science reporting.

This is a great opportunity for a talented and motivated individual to apply their Antarctic field research expertise to enable others to achieve their scientific outcomes.

For more information, or to apply for this role by Tuesday 6 November, please visit our recruitment page, or email us here.



We are offering a webinar update on the project in November. This will be held over Zoom on Wednesday November 21st at 1130-1230. If you would like to attend, please register your interest and contact details (email address) here

The Scott Base Redevelopment project is progressing to plan, with a busy few months ahead. The preliminary design stage has started, being the second of four phases of design that incrementally increase the detail within the design. Over the next six months the team will be concentrating on confirming the bulk and locations of each building on the site, then planning the internal layouts of each area. Spaces will be arranged to ensure that the “flow” through the buildings for science events and staff, will be made as safe and efficient as possible. As with all the design stages, we would very much welcome your comments and ideas – please liaise with the Royal Society – Committee on Antarctic Science, being the key stakeholder group representing the science community; contact the Chair (Gary Wilson) or Fiona Shanhun. We do also have an open door policy, welcoming anyone in the science community to pop into the office in Christchurch and discuss the project and any considerations you may have.

Running concurrently with the preliminary design, we continue to develop the Detailed Business Case for the project to secure funding to complete the design and construction of the project. We anticipate this will be approved in the 2019 budget, enabling a construction start date in 2021. We’ll keep you posted!



The 2018/19 Antarctic season is now underway, despite the slowest start in some forty years due to a sequence of storms in McMurdo following one another in quick succession. The first flight south eventually departed Christchurch two weeks after the scheduled start, impacting some early season science events as a result. 

The following activities were all delayed by up to two weeks:

  • Scott Base opening;
  • Season inductions/ handover process;
  • Winter staff RTNZ (Return to NZ);
  • Cargo movements;
  • Field fuelling;
  • Dive operations;
  • SLH helicopter transportation;
  • Science event deployments; and
  • Other National Programme collaborations. 
After a compressed "catch-up" flight schedule, and some adjustments to the early season programme, we are now back on track. 
We appreciate the understanding and patience expressed by all those affected, and look forward to a successful season ahead.

Congratulations to our Antarcticans on these recent publications:

Bertram R.A., Wilson D.J., van de Flier T., McKay R.M., Patterson M.O., Jimenez-Espejo F.J., Escutia C., Duke G.C., Taylor-Silva B.I., Riesselman C.R. (2018). Pliocene deglacial event timelines and the biogeochemical response offshore Wilkes Subglacial Basin, East Antarctica. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 494. DOI:10.1016/j.epsl.2018.04.054

Taylor-Silva B.I., Riesselman C.R. (2018). Polar Frontal Migration in the Warm Late Pliocene: Diatom Evidence From the Wilkes Land Margin, East Antarctica. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 33. DOI:10.1002/2017PA003225

Wilson D.J., Bertram R.A., Needham E.F., van de Flierdt T., Welsh K.J., McKay R.M., Mazumder A., Riesselman C.R., Jimenez-Espejo  F.J., Escutia C. (2018). Ice loss from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet during late Pleistocene interglacials. Nature, 561. DOI:10.1038/s41586-018-0501-8


If you would like your publications featured here please email our Science Team about your papers as they go to press. 


View from Scallop hill during HF repeater put-in. Photo: Dan Poulton.


SCAR Visiting Scholarships are for mid- to late-career stage scientists and academics (at least 5 years after completing their PhD) who are involved in Antarctic research, providing the opportunity for them to undertake a short-term visit (1 to 4 weeks) to an institute(s) in another SCAR member country, to provide training and mentoring. 

The scheme provides awards of up to USD $5000 each, covering the cost of an international return flight and some contribution towards living expenses for the visiting period. Full information on the scheme, including details of the application process and assessment criteria, is available here.  

The closing date for applications is Monday 3 December 2018.


We have decided to postpone the Antarctic School, originally scheduled for 3-7 December 2018,  until mid-2019. 

We are looking at potential dates in June or later in the (northern hemisphere) summer, avoiding the ISAES meeting scheduled for 22-26 July in Korea. We will send a new save the date email once we have finalized the new date and funding arrangements with USSSP.

We know that many of you will be disappointed by the delay, but hope that the revised focus of the school toward Antarctic research will make up for any inconvenience. If you have any questions, please contact Denise Kulhanek or Trevor Williams.

A vacancy for a 4-year PhD thesis contract, associated to the research project ANTECO (CGL2017-89820-P) on “Biogeography and ecophysiology in native and non-native micro-arthropods in Antarctic environments: a multi-scale approach”, is being funded by the Spanish Research Agency.

We are looking for a highly motivated graduate student, able to work independently and to actively interact with an international research team. The PhD student will be supervised by Dr. Miguel Ángel Olalla Tárraga (P.I.) and will be based at Rey Juan Carlos University (Madrid, Spain). She/he should be proficient in English (both oral and written) and show a good academic record. Ideally, candidates should hold an MSc Degree in Ecology, Biogeography or related disciplines and have research interests on biological invasions, microarthropods and Antarctic terrestrial ecology. A record of previous experience publishing scientific papers will be highly valuable.
Interested candidates should email a motivation letter and CV to Miguel Á. Olalla Tárraga.



The 13th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Science (ISAES 2019) will be held during July 22-26, 2019, at the Songdo Convensia in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The symposium aims to bring together Antarctic earth scientists from different areas in order to gather and highlight their outstanding expertise and ideas.


Call for session proposals

The Scientific Program Committee cordially invites you to submit session proposals. Each session will consist of 6-7 oral presentations lasting for 20 minutes (including Q&A session). Please submit your session proposals by November 30, 2018.

Chair of the Local Organizing Committee: Dr. Jongkuk Hong.

Secretary: Mr. Sunhwi Kim.


The Tinker Foundation and SCAR have agreed that, following the tenth award of the prize this year in July, the scheme will be concluded.

The Tinker Foundation notes specifically:

The Tinker Foundation created the Tinker-Muse prize to recognize our founding president, Martha T. Muse. For much of her life, Ms. Muse had a passion for Antarctica and a profound appreciation for the importance of Antarctic science. Over ten years, we have been proud to see the Prize support the work of talented mid-career scientists in a range of fields, many of whom have assumed distinguished leadership positions and made notable contributions to the academic record. As we conclude the awarding of the Prize, we are grateful to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research for their able oversight and to the prize winners who through their commitment and accomplishments have helped us to honour the legacy of Martha Muse. 

More here.



AFT field camp for new Scott Base staff. Photo: Dan Poulton.
If you have any news, items, great images, or recent publications that you would like to feature in the monthly update, please send them to our Science Team.