This is the expedition blog for University of St Andrews students embarking on an educational experience of a very different and unique kind – exploring the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Follow us as we share this experience of a life time from pre-trip activities, travelling to and experiencing Antarctica up close and personal.
Our student expedition to Antarctica begins with a trip to “World’s End” – as the southern-most city of the world, Ushuaia, likes to call itself. Ushuaia is situated picturesquely at the shores of the Beagle Channel in southern Argentina, and is the gateway to Antarctica. There, our St Andrews team consisting of Biology Masters and final year undergraduate students (plus two staff) join fellow Antarctic enthusiasts aboard the ice-strengthened passenger vessel MV Plancius (operated by Oceanwide Expeditions) which serves as floating home and platform of operations during the Antarctic expedition. We cross the infamous Drake Passage with the aim to explore the frozen coasts of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands.
The St Andrews students are enrolled in credit-bearing polar ecology modules offered by the School of Biology with teaching staff from the Sea Mammal Research Unit. During the expedition students conduct surveys for whales, seals and sea birds, observe the behaviour of these polar predators, collect oceanographic and environmental data and explore the effects of climate change and human activities on the Antarctic ecosystem.
We try and post regular dispatches of our adventures and scientific activities. Join us here as we share our exploration and experiences in the frozen South!