Antarctic Fellowship Recipients Announced During International Week of Science and Peace – IAATO

Int. Ass. Antarctica Tour Operators - IAATO (logo)The annual Antarctic Fellowships, awarded by The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) are an investment in the professional development of talented early career researchers.

IAATO’s $15,000 USD fellowship fund is being awarded to two fellows in 2023: Leena Riekkola from University of Auckland, New Zealand, and Miguel Ángel Bascur from University of Barcelona, Spain.

The announcement comes during International Week of Science and Peace, (November 6 -12), a week that encourages greater academic exchanges on a subject of universal importance while also generating greater awareness of the relationship of science and peace among the public.

Amanda Lynnes, IAATO Director of Environment and Science Coordination, said: “IAATO is delighted to award Antarctic Fellowships this year to Leena and Miguel, whose proposals demonstrated talent, enthusiasm, and commitment to furthering scientific knowledge in support of the ongoing protection of the region.

“The aim of these fellowships is to provide talented early career researchers with an exciting opportunity to work with experts at other institutions. The International Week of Peace and Science is the perfect occasion to announce these deserving new fellows.”

Leena will be working at Southampton University in Hampshire, UK, where she will receive training in advanced spatial modelling. Her aim is to use this knowledge to explore the possibility of predicting the future circumpolar distribution of southern right whale foraging grounds in the Southern Ocean.

Miguel will spend three months with British Antarctic Survey where he hopes to quantify the blue carbon (ocean-based organic carbon) sequestration in benthic invertebrates along Antarctic fjords with glacial retreating, ultimately seeking to identify how blue carbon can act as a natural regulatory factor against climate change.

These exciting projects will involve multinational collaborations, equipping the fellows with valuable skills and knowledge, while having long-lasting impact within the Antarctic community and beyond.

It was in support of the Antarctic Treaty’s unique mission for peace and science that IAATO came into being 32 years ago, and in 2019 launched the Antarctic Fellowship with the intention of supporting talented early-career researchers, scientists, engineers, environmental managers, and other professionals. The purpose is to strengthen international capacity and cooperation in fields such as climate, biodiversity, conservation, humanities, and astrophysics research by providing annual funding opportunities.

SCAR’s 2023 Fellowship awards have gone to:

> Liliana Margonari, from the Instituto Antartico Argentino, who will travel to the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA for her project Outlet Glacier Monitoring in the Larsen B Embayment, Eastern Antarctic Peninsula;

> Dieter Tetzner, from the British Antarctic Survey, who will travel to the EUROCOLD Lab at the University Milano-Bicocca, Italy for his project Reconstructing past changes in the Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds during the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT) – Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation SCAR Fellowship;

> Laiza Cabral de Faria, from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, who will travel to the St. Francis Xavier University, Canada for her project Using Time-Series Metagenomic Sequencing to Infer Microbial Biogeochemical Cycling in Coastal Ecosystems of the Northern Antarctic Peninsula”;

> Thomas Holmes, from the University of Tasmania, Australia, who will travel to the University of Washington, USA, for his project Untangling ligand controls on iron cycling in the Southern Ocean using metabolomics, and

> Alice Oates of the Scott Polar Research Institute, UK, who will travel to the Universidade Lusofona, Centro Universitario de Lisboa, Portugal, for her project titled Setting an agenda for disability-focused research in Antarctic Social Sciences and Humanities.

SCAR Executive Officer Eoghan Griffin said: “The SCAR Fellowships continue to support excellent young researchers who represent the diverse nature of Antarctic research. We are particularly grateful to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for their support in providing an additional Fellowship annually and the wider Antarctic community that act as hosts, reviewers and promoters of our scheme. ”

COMNAP made its announcement on October 25, awarding its Antarctic Fellowship 2022 to Rafael Gonzalez-Serrano, a postdoctoral researcher at the Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CBMSO) in Madrid, Spain.

The award will support Rafael’s project entitled “Viral metagenomics of extant and ancient viruses from Antarctic soils”. Rafael will use the fellowship to undertake collaborative research with colleagues from the University of Waikato, New Zealand.
Rafael’s project will enhance the understanding of viral communities in Antarctica by extracting and sequencing viral DNA/RNA; the sample processing performed during this exchange will allow the first comprehensive palaeoecological study using metagenomics to search for ancient viruses in Antarctica.

(Antarctic Fellowship Recipients Announced During International Week of Science and Peace – IAATO)