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Science Update

August 2018




Tēnā koe,

You may be aware that Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Beggs has left the organisation.  The recruitment of a new Chief Executive will begin as soon as practicable. In the interim, Peter Smith, GM Corporate Services and Strategy is Acting Chief Executive.

The focus over recent days has been to stabilise the business and return to business as usual.  That is well under way. Antarctica NZ is an organisation with a strong service ethic and an ambition to do better - the organisation is not defined by one individual.
I  would like to assure our community that Antarctica New Zealand will continue to work hard to support a successful season ahead. We have an immensely dedicated team that are committed to continuing their high standard of work.

Ngā mihi nui

Sir Brian Roche.



Platform Leadership roles announced

Antarctica New Zealand and the Antarctic Science Platform Steering Group are pleased to announce that Dr Nancy Bertler, Senior Scientist at GNS Science and Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington, has been appointed the Director of the new Antarctic Science Platform. The Platform’s purpose is to further our understanding of Antarctica’s impact on New Zealand and the rest of the planet and how this might change in a warming world. Scientists will address this purpose through two major research programmes, and Antarctica New Zealand has appointed two Programme Leaders to support this: Professor Gary Wilson, from the University of Otago, will lead a programme focused on ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions, and Professor Ian Hawes, from the University of Waikato, will lead a programme investigating Ross Sea region ecosystems. 


Drs Bertler, Hawes and Wilson can be contacted at the following email addresses:


Photo: Professor Ian Hawes, Associate Professor Nancy Bertler and Professor Gary Wilson.


Next steps

Antarctica New Zealand's plan for hosting the Platform is currently with the Steering Group for sign off and is due for submission to MBIE at the end of this week.


Antarctica New Zealand is in the process of appointing a Platform Manager who will work with the Platform Leadership Team, government stakeholders and scientists to ensure that research programmes are delivering on the Platform objectives.


Following the research development workshops held earlier this year, discussions were synthesised into a research framework. This framework has been reviewed by the Platform’s Independent Science Panel, and the Platform team are looking forward to sharing it with the wider community in early September.


Proposals to deliver four major projects will be collaboratively designed, with the next phase to commence early next month. Proposals will be due in mid-October; this will enable logistics planning to support field activities in the 2019/20 season.


If you would like to be involved in the next phase of proposal development, please register your interest with

More information about the Antarctic Science Platform and the process to date can be found here.



We’re sad to farewell Rebecca McLeod, our warm, energetic, dedicated and passionate Science Research Advisor at the end of this month. She is leaving us to spend more time with her family, get stuck into an exciting habitat restoration project, and continue her role as Chair of the Fiordland Marine Guardians.


Becs has been an instrumental part of developing the Antarctic Science Platform to date, and has played a key role in supporting New Zealand’s Antarctic research community over the past two and a half years. Amongst numerous successes, she’s overseen the careful spend of hundreds of thousands of dollars of NZARI funding, improved the postgraduate student scholarship scheme, developed an Antarctic publications database (watch this space!), organised a successful Antarctic Science conference in Dunedin (2017), and built trusted relationships with the community. We will miss her dearly and wish her all the best with her future endeavours.

Becs on Ob Hill (Photo by Fiona Shanhun).


Planning for the 2018/2019 season is underway. You can view a copy of the Event Planning Timeline, including key dates in the Event Manager portal on EMPEROR or download a copy here

If you require any of the following, or propose to operate in the following areas we require this information to be in EMPEROR by 31 October 2018:

  • Big ticket/out of the ordinary support from other National Antarctic Programmes
  • Fixed wing support (i.e. Twin Otter, Basler or LC-130)
  • Transport or use of hazardous substances (i.e. explosives and pressurised gases such as medical oxygen)
  • Maritime or ship based operations
  • Remote locations (beyond 200km from Scott Base)
  • Large quantities and/or bulky cargo to move to Antarctica by cargo ship departing January 2019
  • Ground transportation/traverse of large quantities of equipment

If you have any queries about the process, feel free to contact the science team, or event planning.


Congratulations to our Antarcticans on these recent publications:


Newman J., Poirot C., Roper-Gee R., Leihy R.I., Chown S.L. (2018). A decade of invertebrate colonization pressure on Scott Base in the Ross Sea region. Biological Invasions, 20. DOI:10.1007/s10530-018-1722-3   

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


Sanil Lad (Winter Technical Support) partway through installing the K063 Sea Ice Mass Balance Station.


Many have been enquiring whether NZARI will have an RFP this year.  It has been decided that we hold off this year with a focus of announcing a significant call in June 2019.  All current funded projects will proceed as planned for the 18/19 season.


A recent development in NZARI has been that our International Science Panel (ISP) has been adopted by the Antarctic Science Platform to serve in an advisory role as an Independent Science Panel. NZARI has been in discussions with Gillian Wratt (Chair of the Antarctic Science Platform Steering Group) about the Platform’s proposed contestable rounds.  It is our joint hope that the NZARI and Platform contestable rounds will be run together next year.




The CLIVAR/CliC/SCAR Southern Ocean Region Panel (SORP) seeks nominations for four new members (self-nominations are welcome).

The panel is in particular need of nominees possessing expertise in:

  • global climate/Earth-system modelling;
  • open ocean measurements;
  • sea ice remote sensing;
  • sea-going chemical oceanography;

The inclusion of representation from across the nations and regions that participate in Southern Ocean climate science is a priority.

At least one new member from Africa and from Asia are needed for this round of nominations.

Current panel membership is listed here.

Nominations of women, members of under-represented groups, and early career scientists are encouraged.


For more information about panel activities and the expectations for panel members, please contact one of the panel co-chairs, Inga Smith and Riccardo Farneti.


There is an open position in Professor Anja Engels lab at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany.
Job Description:
The successful candidate will investigate the microbial turnover of dissolved and particulate organic matter (carbon, gel-like particles, amino acids, carbohydrates) in the ocean using biogeochemical, microbial and microscopic (confocal laser scanning microscopy) techniques, and plan and conduct seagoing expeditions. She/he will also refine methods for the determination of particle export fluxes and turn-over in situ, e.g. with drifting sediment traps, Large Volume Sampler (Marine Snow Catcher).

Applications (cover letter, CV, copy of certificates, description of relevant employment and experience, list of publications, two reference letters) for this post will be accepted until 9th September 2018 as a single pdf-file to the following address:

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel 
Personalabteilung Bewerbungsmanagement / Microbial Biogeochemistry
Wischhofstr. 1 - 3
D-24148 Kiel

For further information please contact Prof. Anja Engel by phone (+49 431 600-4447) or e-mail here


Antarctica New Zealand is a sponsor of the NZ Geoscience Society conference this year, which has the theme “Our Land, Our Ocean, Our Responsibility”. It will be held in Napier, 27-30 November, and includes sessions on sea level rise, climate, hazards, and a dedicated Antarctic Science session. Abstract submissions are open now, until 17 September -



Entries for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes are now open, with New Zealand’s most talented established and emerging scientists, science teachers and science communicators able to apply for awards worth a combined value of $1 million across five categories.

Entries close for all but the Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize on Wednesday 5 September 2018. The Future Scientist Prizes closes on 30 October 2018.

You've got to be in to win... you can apply here.



The IPCC has selected the author teams that are now preparing the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC). The selected experts took on roles of Coordinating Lead Authors (who draft each individual chapter) and Review Editors, who ensure that comments by experts and governments are given appropriate consideration as the report develops. The teams are working together to produce the Special Report, set to be finalized in September 2019.


The full list of Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors and Review Editors is available here. If you have a contribution for this initiative, it must be submitted by 15 October 2018; contact the working group for more information.


The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), are offering a scholarship, providing funding of up to AUD $30,000 to assist early-career scientists to participate in the work of the CCAMLR Scientific Committee and its working groups over a period of two years.  The objective of the scheme is to build capacity within the CCAMLR scientific community to help generate and sustain the scientific expertise needed to support the work of CCAMLR in the long-term.  The deadline for applications is 1 October 2018. Find out more here

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.