Science for a Blue Planet

Featuring cutting-edge work, discoveries, and challenges of our scientists, our partners, and the larger conservation science community.

Return from the Antarctic Wilds

Anne, Geoff, and Grant on the 2024 Antarctica Trip.

In early February, an intrepid group of nearly 40 members of the Point Blue community began an Antarctic journey that was to be filled with science, adventure, and wonder. The group was led by Point Blue’s CEO, Mani Oliva, and Chief Science Officer, Dr. Grant Ballard. Now that everyone’s back home and has begun sorting pictures, we caught up with a few participants. We asked them how the trip went and to share a few of their favorite photos.

Bringing members of our community to see our furthest afield study site was an opportunity we are truly grateful for. As always, you can learn about events closer to home by keeping an eye on the events page of our website. We hope you enjoy these reflections and images and are able to find inspiration in nature wherever you are!

The Antarctic is a place that defies description. The landscape and seascape come together in a way that highlights both amazing beauty and the fragility of our natural world. I feel enormously privileged to have had the opportunity to take part in this wonderful experience with Point Blue board members and supporters. The Antarctic environment is the leading edge of how climate change is dramatically affecting our natural world, wildlife, and us. At the same time, the Antarctic is a powerful natural laboratory where innovative solutions can be tested and shared to create global impact. This unique opportunity is a major reason why Point Blue has committed to almost three decades of research in the Antarctic that has already contributed to the creation of the world’s largest marine protected area, and new science that we are applying across California and globally. As I return to California, I feel re-energized and a renewed commitment to our work together to protect our natural world and sustain thriving wildlife and human communities well into the future. –Mani Oliva, Point Blue CEO

Despite having traveled to Antarctica 25 times previously for Point Blue research in the Ross Sea region, our recent journey with Antarctica 21 was my first opportunity to visit the Antarctic Peninsula, and my first opportunity to visit Antarctica with our supporters. I especially loved spending some quality time in gentoo and chinstrap penguin colonies, which don’t occur in the Ross Sea. Traveling with our 36 guests amidst the peninsula’s breathtaking landscapes and observing the diverse wildlife that resides there sparked expansive discussions on our collective responsibility to better comprehend and safeguard not only Antarctica, but our planet as a whole. I return inspired to expand our collaborative science with researchers working in the Peninsula region and to spend more time with the chinstraps and gentoos in the future! –Dr. Grant Ballard, Point Blue Chief Science Officer

The penguins were so stinking cute — and they stink, too! Standing in a penguin colony, surrounded by its sights, sounds, and smells, I felt a real sense of urgency around protecting this diverse and important ecosystem. The work we do in Antarctica affects the health of our planet in surprising ways, and it was thrilling to see it first-hand with fellow members of the Point Blue community. –Anne Chadwick, Point Blue Board Chair

It’s been such a privilege to be in Antarctica with this group. Kayaking in near silence among vast icebergs while tracking Humpback whales that were only a few meters away is an experience I will never forget. Having our Chief Scientist Grant Ballard onboard to explain his team’s work in Antarctica was clearly a highlight for everyone on board. –Geoff Gordon Creed, former Point Blue Board Chair

An extraordinary adventure to a land of extremes. Lovely Point Blue camaraderie, experienced staff and guides on the ship. We’re left with lifetime memories of the frozen continent: vocalizing whales, determined penguins, fur covered seals, birds of the marine environment, sun, snow, wind and waves. –Carolyn “CJ” Johnson, Former Point Blue Board Chair

Click Through some of the amazing photos captured by Grant Ballard, Point Blue CSO, and Jeff Bullied, the ship photographer:

Antarctica Trip 2024, Best Of