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Plenary lectures at the SCAR Open Science Conference are keynote presentations delivered by distinguished scientists and experts in Antarctic research. These lectures aim to highlight significant advancements, emerging trends, and critical issues in the field of Antarctic science. They provide a platform for sharing groundbreaking research, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, and discussing the global implications of Antarctic studies. The plenary sessions are designed to inspire and inform the scientific community, policymakers, and the public about the vital role of Antarctica in understanding Earth’s systems and addressing environmental challenges.

The Weyprecht Lecture

Learning from the persistence of Southern Ocean benthic invertebrates

Monday 19 August 2024, 08.30-09.30am Chile Standard Time

Understanding what Antarctica was like during the Last Interglacial around 120,000 years ago, the last time when global temperatures were 0.5-1.5°C warmer than pre-industrial levels, can give us insights on how the future of Antarctica might unfold under current climate change. Alongside powerful tools such as ice cores and sediments, a wealth of untapped paleoclimate information lies within living seafloor dwelling (benthic) invertebrates. Around 78% of today’s Southern Ocean biodiversity are benthic invertebrates. Their evolutionary success has been shaped by the oceanographic isolation of the Southern Ocean and persistence through the Quaternary period (~2.6 million years until now). The genomes of today’s Southern Ocean benthic invertebrates contain records of how their ancestors survived throughout the Quaternary. By harnessing this genetic information, knowledge of Antarctica’s physical past can be revealed, including Last Interglacial West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse. As we are fast approaching global warming at 1.5°C, this talk reflects on how combining interdisciplinary efforts, international collaborations and archived samples can empower us to be better prepared for the future.

Dr Sally Lau

Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future at James Cook University, Australia

Sally Lau is a post-doctoral researcher with Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future at James Cook University, Australia. Her work focuses on investigating the evolutionary histories of Southern Ocean marine invertebrates using genetic methods, and applying these knowledge in the context of past climate changes. Sally is an early career researcher. She recently completed her PhD in evolutionary genetics at James Cook University in 2022 and was a recipient of the 2022 SCAR INSTANT fellowship.

About the Weyprecht Lecture

The Weyprecht Lecture was first introduced at the 3rd SCAR Open Science Conference in 2008 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Open Science Conference in 2008 was also the first of three International Polar Year 2007-2008 Conferences and the first joint SCAR-IASC polar science conferences. The theme of the conference was “Polar Research – Arctic and Antarctic Perspectives in the International Polar Year and it was fitting to recognize Karl Weyprecht as one of the proponents of the 1st international Polar Year 1882-1883. His pioneering concepts on the basics principles of Arctic research suggested that fixed observation stations should be established to take regular measurements of weather and ice conditions with identical devices and at pre-established intervals. These principles are foundational to much of the modern era of polar science. The International Polar Year (IPY), 1882-83, was the first worldwide coordinated scientific enterprise and has been judged as the most significant single event in the founding of the science of geophysics.

Past Weyprecht Lectures

2020: Dr. Valérie Masson-Delmotte – Climate Change, Antarctica and the IPCC AR6

2018: Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Thomas – Frozen in Time: Unlocking the Earth’s Climate History Using Ice Cores

2016: Prof. Christina Hulbe – The Ross Ice Shelf: 190 Years (or more) of Exploration

2014: Prof. Richard Bellerby – Southern Ocean Acidification

2012: Dr. Robert “Bob” Bindschadler – Glaciers, Ice Sheet Mass Balance and Sea Level

2010: Dr. John Carlstrom – Astronomy in Antarctica

2008: Prof. Robin Bell – The Gamburtsev Mountains: An Unexplored Frontier

Plenary Lecture

Mapping Memories. An Architectural Biography of Antarctica

Tuesday 20 August 2024, 08.30-09.30am Chile Standard Time

Since the 19th Century, Antarctica has been an unlimited laboratory for Natural Sciences. Its long tradition on the continent has resulted in narratives centred around the idea of Antarctica as a pristine, inhabited, and wild territory. However, Social Sciences and Humanities have helped to build alternative narratives, highlighting the human history of Antarctica. In this context, while archaeology and anthropology have demonstrated material cultures’ potential to create uncharted historical narratives. In particular, architecture has proven to be an important research tool, both as a way of exploring unknown histories and as a promising tool for developing interdisciplinary studies that could lead us to a more comprehensive knowledge of Antarctica’s human past.

This conference aims to present an Architectural Biography on Antarctica, centred on the material and human dimensions of architecture, as a way to build alternative narratives on the continent’s human footprint evolution, leading to a more comprehensive knowledge of Antarctica’s past. To this end, we will launch Archive SUR, a virtual and collaborative platform dedicated to documenting researching and managing Architecture and Habitat in Antarctica.

Dr Victoria Nuviala

Fellow Bataillon | Casa de Velázquez & Madrid Institute for Advanced Study (MIAS)
SUR | Virtual Archive on Architecture and Habitat in Antarctica
Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo | Universidad de Buenos Aires

Victoria has a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Buenos Aires. She is a Marcel Bataillon Research Fellow at the Casa de Velázquez and the Madrid Institute for Advanced Study, and an Associate Professor of History of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires. Her research focuses on the History of Antarctic Architecture and its future as a cultural-historical Heritage. Since 2008, she has travelled to the Antarctic, where she has worked as a researcher, manager of cultural heritage, and scientific communicator.

Victoria has participated in the Argentine Antarctic Programme as a research assistant for Antarctic cultural and historical heritage projects, co-chair of the Informal Discussion on Historic Sites and Monuments (ATS), and member of the Argentine delegation to the XIV Committee on Environmental Protection and the XXXV Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM).

Since 2019 she has co-coordinated 6044SUR, the Interdisciplinary Research Team on Architecture and Habitat in Antarctica, and the SUR Archive, the first virtual platform dedicated to Architecture & Habitat in Antarctica. Recently, Victoria has been awarded the SCAR Fellowship for her project “Mapping Memories”.

Victoria is an active member of the International Polar Heritage Committee (IPHC) and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS).

The David Walton Antarctic Science Lecture

Setting up a context for the Anthropogenic climate change using ice core records

Thursday 22 August 2024, 08.30-09.30am Chile Standard Time

Global warming driven by human activities is expected to be accentuated in polar regions compared with the global average, an effect called polar amplification. Yet, for Antarctica, the amplitude of warming is still poorly constrained due to short weather observations and the large decadal climate variability. Ice core records can be used to reconstruct the current impact of climate change in Antarctica, as well as provide a historical context for the change. Reconstructions of past temperature over the last 1000 years offer direct evidence of Antarctic polar amplification at regional and continental scales. They also show that the amplitude of both natural and forced variability is not captured by the CMIP5 and CMIP6 model ensemble members. This shows that failing to consider the feedback loops causing polar amplification could lead to an underestimation of the magnitude of anthropogenic warming and its consequences in Antarctica. Reconstructions of other environmental variable, such as surface masse balance, or over longer time periods, can also be used to understand better the current impacts of climate change, and combined with modelling tools, their future projections.

Dr Mathieu Casado

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE), UMR 8212 CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, IPSL, Gif-sur-Yvette, France

Mathieu Casado is a CNRS researcher at the Laboratory of Science of Climate and Environment (LSCE). He studies water isotopes from ice core records to reconstruct past climate variability, using both improved processes understanding and statistical approaches to extract the climate variability at finer resolution. Using new development in infrared spectroscopy, he is able to study in Central Antarctica how all the archival processes leading to the isotopic signal are modulating the climatic signal.

About the David Walton Antarctic Science Lecture

The David Walton Antarctic Science Lecture is sponsored by the Journal Antarctic Science honoring its long-time editor Prof DWH Walton. David was active in many areas of Antarctic science and policy, especially for SCAR. He was the 2016 recipient of the SCAR Medal for International Scientific Coordination and represented SCAR at many Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings. He was the Chair of SCAR’s Group of Specialists on Environmental Affairs and Conservation (GOSEAC), and editor of the SCAR Antarctic Environments Portal.  Later in his career he served as Chief Editor for the reports of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings. David established the scientific journal Antarctic Science in 1989 and served as its Chief Editor until his untimely passing in 2019. He was a prolific author contributing to, compiling, and editing six books on research in Antarctica.

Past David Walton Antarctic Science Lectures

2022: Ceridwen Fraser – Southern Ocean Diversity and Connectivity: Surprises and New Directions

2020: Nerilie Abram – Discovering Antarctica’s climate secrets

2016: Elie Poulin -Diversification or marine benthic fauna in the southern Ocean: A Phylogeographic and Phylogenetic Perspective

2014: Carlota Escutia – Deciperhin past climate and ice sheet dynamics from sedimentary records

2012: Angelika Brandt – Marine biodiversity

Plenary Lecture

The reckoning: how #MeTooAntarctica is changing fieldwork

Friday 23 August 2024, 08.30-09.30am Chile Standard Time

In 2017, Antarctic science began its ‘reckoning’ with sexual harassment in remote fieldwork. This lecture will trace the conditions that gave rise to #MeTooAntarctica and my own experiences working with many women around the world who found themselves at the centre of the movement, often at significant personal cost. Drawing on examples from Australia, I will prompt key questions around accountability in Antarctic science and offer my reflections on the adequacy of the ‘reckoning’.  To conclude, I will provide leading practice recommendations for National Antarctic Programs to productively seize the opportunity for robust prevention and response measures that underpin safe and respectful fieldwork environments.

Professor Meredith Nash

KPMG Australia

Professor Meredith Nash is Director – Sexual Harassment & Gendered Violence and KPMG Australia’s national lead for Respect@Work. With 20 years of multi-sector experience, Meredith is an internationally recognised gender equity thought leader and expert in building inclusion in complex workforces.  She led the 2022 Nash Review of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in the Australian Antarctic Program, which instigated a national enquiry into sexual harassment in Antarctica and the most significant cultural transformation in the organisation’s history.  As an academic, she generated and matured the social science evidence base for understanding systemic inequity in Antarctic Science and how intersectional approaches can be used to address the barriers that prevent people from historically excluded groups from accessing STEMM degrees and career pathways.  As an organisational change leader, she has created inclusion strategies for several national space agencies, global mining companies, defence, and across corporate Australia. Before joining KPMG, Meredith was a Professor and Associate Dean at the Australian National University, a Senior Advisor at the Australian Antarctic Division, and a cultural sociologist at the University of Tasmania.

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Collaboration and Partnerships

  • Universidad de La Frontera
  • Universidad Católica de Temuco
  • Universidad de Chile
  • Universidad de Magallanes
  • Universidad de Santiago de Chile
  • Universidad de Concepción
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
  • Instituto Milenio Base
  • Congreso Futuro
  • Municipalidad de Pucón
  • Municipalidad de Villarrica
  • Gobierno Regional de La Araucanía
  • Corporación Desarrollo Araucanía
  • Servicio Nacional de Turismo Región de Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena
  • Servicio Nacional de Turismo Región de La Araucanía
  • Corporación de Turismo de Pucón