Greetings, Scibloggers! Before I begin I should explain my very long hiatus in posting to Sciblogs.
In early 2010 I started Journeys to the Ice, an audio podcast and blog on Antarctic science usually featuring recent research from the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington. Late that year I travelled to the sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia and in early 2011 I started a vidcast series based on that trip. Shortly after completing part 1 however, I found myself back in the world of field-based exploration geology, initially on the West Coast, then hunting rare earths in Mozambique during 2012 followed by adventures in Ghana last year.
Now that I’m back in Wellington it seems high time that I continue with the sub-Antarctic mini documentaries. Overhauling my editing suite to Final Cut Pro X has taken time, but ultimately has led to faster, more reliable editing in my opinion. The 10.0 release of that program was widely denounced by professionals, but has since had major updates returning many missing features.
It’s exciting to be returning to the world of science media. Keep an eye out for more episodes of The Galápagos of the Southern Ocean in the coming months.
Our first port of call is Enderby Island at the northern end of the Auckland Islands group. 2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of the eradication of introduced land mammals on the island. The subsequent return of many endangered species (several of which are endemic to the island group) has been hailed as a conservation success story. Megaherbs flourish on the island once more. Some of the more conspicuous denizens of Enderby that we encounter are the Yellow-eyed Penguin and the New Zealand Sea Lion.
To download the vidcast for your Apple device, simply subscribe for free through the iTunes Store on your computer or through the Podcasts app for iOS. For playback on other portable media devices please download from the Journeys to the Ice homepage. Otherwise you can watch it straight away via YouTube in the window below. YouTube video looks and sounds best in 720p.
Photo (c) 2010 Matthew Wood
The Galápagos of the Southern Ocean is an adventure tourism cruise to the sub-Antarctic islands of New Zeland and Australia run by Christchurch-based Heritage Expeditions. The rich and diverse wildlife of the region is driven by high primary productivity at these latitudes due to upwelling along major ocean fronts. The human history of the islands is one of discovery, environmental degradation and more recently, restoration and conservation. The Enderby Trust provides financial support for young adults to experience the the natural environment of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica on board Heritage Expeditions’ polar research vessel, Spirit of Enderby.
The vidcast is optimised for playback on iPhone 4 and 4th Generation iPod Touch. To download the vidcast for your Apple device, simply search and subscribe for free through the iTunes Store. For playback on other portable media devices please download from the Journeys to the Ice homepage. Otherwise you can watch it straight away via YouTube in the window below. YouTube video looks and sounds best in 720p.
Photo (c) 2010 Jessica Kerr
In the realm of the Earth sciences (within the cramped offices of competitive post-graduate students at least) there has always been a playful antagonism between ‘hard rock’ and ‘soft rock’ geologists. So I was certainly fraternising with the enemy when I recently caught up with a good friend, Jodi Williams, to hear about her travels south during the past summer.
Jodi studied metamorphic petrology at the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University, culminating in a thesis that probed the temperature and pressure histories locked in the geochemistry of the Alpine schist. Following university, work in the Amazon rainforest and travel through East Africa left her hungry for further adventures into the natural world. So when she had the opportunity to head deep into the untamed Southern Ocean, to explore the remote southernmost outposts of the New Zealand biogeographical region, she jumped at the chance.
Heritage Expeditions is a Christchurch-based company that advocates wildlife conservation through responsible travel. The Enderby Trust provides financial aid to young people who have a passion for the natural sciences, allowing them to travel to the sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia with Heritage Expeditions onboard their research vessel Spirit of Enderby.
The early human history of many of the islands is written in the blood of hapless penguins and marine mammals that were brutally harvested and rendered for natural oils. Native flora and fauna also struggled under the pressures placed on them by exotic species, but serious conservation efforts have been hugely successful in restoring the damaged areas to their former glory. The Snares are close to pristine, with more birds nesting on these tiny islands than there are seabirds around the entire British Isles.* The rich biodiversity and geological significance of the New Zealand and Australian sub-Antarctic islands respectively has earned them UNESCO World Heritage status, and Heritage Expeditions appropriately refers to them as the ‘Galapagos of the Southern Ocean’.
Charles Darwin was openly unimpressed with what he saw of mainland New Zealand during his fleeting visit in 1835. Perhaps, if he had been able to venture further south during his long voyage of discovery, he would have found more than enough birds, beasts and other biota to whet his insatiable appetite for natural wonder.
Photo (c) Jodi Williams 2009
*Information from Heritage Expeditions website.