Department awarded new £420,000 Antarctic research contract


The Department has been awarded a new research contract from the Natural Environment Research Council to examine the productivity of snow and ice-bound microbial ecosystems upon the Antarctic Peninsula.

The £420,000 award, plus additional logistical support from the British Antarctic Survey, allows Andy Hodson (the Principal Investigator) and Claire Plant from the department to work alongside David Pearce and Peter Convey of BAS during the 20011/12 austral summer season. They will measure the abundance, activity and biogeochemistry of microorganisms within melting snow and ice at Signy Island of the South Orkney Island group.

The research hopes to establish how continued climate warming will stimulate regional carbon fluxes, and moderate nutrient release to the highly productive marine ecosystem of the Scotia Arc.

The work builds upon Andy's research there seven years ago, and also that undertaken by the department's first head of department, Robert Neal Rudmose-Brown, in the early 1900s as part of the 1904 Scotia Expedition.

Further Reading:

  • Hodson, A.J., Heaton, T., Langford, H. and Newsham, K. (2009). Chemical weathering and solute export by meltwater in a maritime Antarctic glacier basin. Biogeochemistry.
  • Hodson, A.J. (2006). Biogeochemistry of snowmelt in an Antarctic glacial ecosystem. Water Resources Research, 42.