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News (113)

After waking up very early (4 am!) to a calm and cool Australia Day; Tavo, Jorge (Chief of Base) and I tackled a 10 km run, which ended up more like an obstacle course on ice, rock and through snow trenches.

On the evening of Saturday 16th January many prominent international scientists (including Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry and in Physics), academics, business professionals and Chilean politicians visited Base Escudero and the laboratories. This diverse group was invited to meet in Santiago, Chile for the Congreso del Futuro to talk about climate change and the challenges facing humanity today.

Sundays are days off for the chefs here at Base Escudero and so research teams can use this opportunity to show off their culinary skills. Our group stepped up to the challenge last week and cooked a delicious lunch for 30 hungry workers and scientists.

I am lucky to participate in another research trip to King George Island (KGI), West Antarctica organised by the Instituto Antartico Chileno. Last year Sharon, Andrew and I were part of a group of scientists from a diverse range of countries lead by Angélica Casanova-Katny. This time around I am accompanying Gustavo, Tavo and Marisol from USACH as part of my Endeavour program.

Dr Mel has been in Antarctica for over a week now and we are hoping there will be updates and exciting news but unfortunately the internet is slow (probably doesn't like the cold) and so she is sending messages via whats app.  Luckily there is mobile phone coverage on King George Island!  Looks like Tavo is on the phone in the lab here.

I might be a little late to blog about this but it has been a busy last few weeks. The Facultad de Quimica y Biologia at USACH had a successful end to 2015 and put on a lunch with finger-food, including mini empanadas (empanaditas). I attended the New Year’s fireworks at Los Dominicos, Santiago with my host supervisor’s family. We dressed up in silly hats and of course glow sticks, drank champagne and exploded the largest hand held party poppers I’ve seen. Both were fun events to cap off a great year for research and achievements.

I arrived in Concepción in the middle of December to see Angelica and her student, Paz, to collect Antarctic moss samples and prepare instruments to record weather conditions in Antarctica. 

Months of getting equipment ready have finally cumulated in 10 days field work at the scenic Summerland House Farm. Prof Barry Osmond (pictured) and I spent ten days in the field trying to understand photosynthesis in both the inner and outer canopies of Avocado trees. We were running all our equipment from four large car batteries which we charged overnight and lugged out to our field site each day. During the ten day campaign we were met with everything from clear summer days to golf ball sized hail and we often found ourselves rushing to the field site to ensure none of our equipment got wet. Overall though a successful field campaign with lots of promising data collected and a big thankyou to all the welcoming staff at Summerland Farm House and Alstonville Country Cottages.

An article about my seminar last week has been posted on the Universidad de Santiago de Chile web site.Experta advierte sobre los riesgos de los gases de efecto invernadero y el calentamiento de la Tierra or Expert warns of the risks of greenhouse gases and global warming. 

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