And they’re off…to the ends of the earth!
February 1, 2024
Right now, over 40 Point Blue community members, including our CEO Mani Oliva and our Chief Science Officer Dr. Grant Ballard, are somewhere between their homes and Punta Arenas, Chile. Once the entire group has arrived, they’ll take a short flight directly to King George Island in Antarctica where they’ll board The Magellan Explorer. On the ship, they’ll take part in a unique opportunity to see firsthand the challenges we face due to climate change in one of the most sensitive regions on the planet.
For the first time in Point Blue’s history, we invited our greater community to travel with our science and leadership teams to learn about and study one of our favorite research areas in the world: Antarctica. Point Blue researchers have been working there for over 50 years to discover, understand, and measure the main drivers of ecosystem change in the Southern Ocean, as part of a global community of researchers drawn to this relatively pristine “natural laboratory.” We maintain a research station at Cape Crozier and while our main project focuses on Adélie penguin populations in the Ross Sea as a model organism representing this ecosystem, we also study other bird species, whales, and seals, in addition to the physical environment. Our science and leadership were critical in the 2017 establishment of the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area, which is the largest MPA on the planet.
Dr. Grant Ballard, Chief Science Officer at Point Blue, will be the group’s expert host along with me, other scientists, guides, and Point Blue Board Members. Dr. Ballard has led our research efforts in Antarctica and has spent the past 28 years studying Adélie penguins and the Southern Ocean ecosystem. While on board there will be opportunities for Point Blue adventurers to participate in citizen science projects including: The Fjord Phyto Project, Happy Whale, and Polar Tag, as well as two specifically designed by Point Blue to detect the effects of climate change and Avian Influenza on penguins.