20 April, 2016

BAS scientists to take part in Swiss-led Antarctic research cruise

Scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) are to take part in a research cruise which will circumnavigate the continent of Antarctica. A total of 55 researchers from 30 different countries will be involved in the first project of the newly formed Swiss Polar Institute.

The Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE) will be the first scientific expedition to fully sail around the southernmost continent. The purpose of this expedition, with key logistical support from Ferring Pharmaceuticals, will be to measure and quantify the impact of climate change and pollution in the Southern Ocean and the sub-Antarctic islands.

The research cruise, which commences at the end of December 2016, is an initiative of the new interdisciplinary Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).  SPI is a consortium of Swiss universities – EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, ETH Zurich and the University of Bern – and was co-founded with Editions Paulsen.

Around 50 researchers from around the world will set off for three months on board the Akademik Treshnikov, a Russian ship dedicated to scientific research.

Scientists will be using an Agassiz trawl as part of their research

Scientists from BAS lead on three projects and are involved in five others, with international partners:

  • Evaluating carbon storage capacity in seabed organisms. PI David Barnes
  • Reading Antarctic’s past in ice cores. PI Liz Thomas
  • Measuring the changes in the ocean’s capacity to absorb CO2. PI Dominic Hodgson

BAS Director, Prof Jane Francis, says:

“I am very pleased that our science teams will participate in this international scientific research effort. Studying the Earth’s polar regions is fundamental to gaining an understanding of how the planet’s climate is changing, particularly how this will impact on these ocean and island ecosystems.”

BAS Director of Science, David Vaughan, says:

“The ACE expedition represents a unique opportunity to circumnavigate Antarctica visiting each of the important sub-Antarctic islands, where climate change, recent establishment of non-native species and exploration of marine resources has put the natural systems under stress. BAS is proud to be part of this international team, delivering such an exciting and important programme of science in some of the planet’s most remotest environments.”


For more information see: http://actu.epfl.ch/news/newly-created-swiss-polar-institute-to-launch-an-a/