Antarctic Lecture Series


Climate Change in the Polar Regions: Not waiting for 'the day after tomorrow'

Sept. 20, 2016  |  7:00pm – 8:00pm  |  Fort Collins Library, 201 Peterson St.

Both poles of the Earth are changing - rapidly and dramatically - in response to greenhouse gas-driven global warming. Yet the polar regions remain spectacular landscapes, wrought of rock and ice and water by geologic processes most of us have never seen. With Dr. Ted Scambos, Lead Scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and a frequent traveler to the Antarctic for research, we will review the satellite evidence for recent changes in Arctic sea ice, Greenland's ice sheet, and coastal Antarctica. We will also go closer, using pictures from field expeditions to get a more personal sense of these far-off, yet hugely important, regions.

McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: Introduction to a Polar Desert Ecosystem

April 19  |  7:00pm – 8:00pm  |  Fort Collins Library, 201 Peterson St.

Karen Cozzetto, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research University of Colorado
At the edge of Antarctica, on the part of the continent closest to New Zealand, lie the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Discovered in 1902 by Robert Falcon Scott, William Lashley, and Edgar Evans afer traveling over the polar plateau for hundreds of miles, the valleys were an unexpected ice-free surprise. Come for a virtual tour of this unique ecosystem where vast expanses of bare soils, glaciers, permantely ice-covered lakes, and summertime streams all meet to form an extreme cold desert - and the largest of Antarctica's rare, ice-free regions.

Long-Term Ecology: What modern-day ecologists can learn about Antarctica biodiversity from heroic-age exploration

March 22  |  7:00pm – 8:00pm  |  Fort Collins Library, 201 Peterson St.

Eric Sokol, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder
Heroic age exploration at the beginning of the 20th century in Antarctica was about more than finding a route to the South Pole. For example, Shackleton's Nimrod expedition included a small scientific team that collected diatoms from a series of ponds at Cape Royds on Ross Island - and these samples are still preserved. Come and learn how the scientific legacy of heroic Antarctic explorers can provide modern-day ecologists with invaluable insight about the stability of Antarctica in the face of a changing world.

The Toughest Creatures in the World: Soil Life in the Antarctic Dry Valleys

February 29  |  7:00pm – 8:00pm  |  Fort Collins Library, 201 Peterson St.

Ashley Shaw, Department of Biology, Colorado State University
Most of Antarctica is covered by ice, but there are large snow-free areas: the McMurdo Dry Valleys, the world’s most extreme desert. These valleys are some of the coldest, driest, and windiest places on earth – yet their soils are full of life. Within these soils, microscopic animals such as nematodes, tardigrades, and rotifers rule the ecosystem. How do they survive these extremely cold desert conditions? Come and learn about life in Antarctic soils, and see first-hand novel findings on the food webs, communities, and survival in this harsh ecosystem.

A Changing World and It's Effect on Top Level Predators: Lessons Learned from the Antarctic

November 18  |  7:00pm – 8:00pm  |  Fort Collins Library, 201 Peterson St.

Shane Kanatous, Department of Biology, Colorado State University

To better understand what limits the adaptation of apex predators to changing ecosystems, it is necessary to understand their energetic needs. This is especially true for sentinel polar species, because current changes in climatic conditions can have immediate consequences on their prey availability. Lessons learnt from our work in Antarctica have broad application to many species found across the globe.


Antarctica: A Keystone in Earth Science with Nigel Kelly

April 21  |  7:00pm – 8:00pm  |  Fort Collins Library, 201 Peterson St.

Nigel Kelly, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado - Boulder

The continent of Antarctica represents a key piece in the jigsaw puzzles of ancient supercontinents. With current coastlines that once abutted with Australia, India and Africa when part of the supercontinent Gondwana, decades of research on basement geology has revealed links to older supercontinents back in deep time. This talk will introduce how research on rocks exposed amongst the ice has contributed to our broader understanding of the evolution of the continents through Earth history.

Antarctica: A Year on Ice

February 24, 2015  |  6:30pm – 8:30pm  |  Behavioral Sciences Room 131

ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE is a visually stunning journey to the end of the world with the hardy and devoted people who live there year-round. The research stations scattered throughout the continent host a close-knit international population of scientists, technicians and craftsmen. Isolated from the rest of the world, enduring months of unending darkness followed by periods when the sun never sets, Antarctic residents experience firsthand the beauty and brutality of the most severe environment on Earth. Capturing epic battles against hellacious storms, quiet reveries of nature's grandeur, and everyday moments of work and laughter, this unique documentary shows a steadfast community thriving in a land few humans have experienced. Using specially modified cameras and spectacular time-lapse photography, filmmaker Anthony Powell captures the splendor of the region like no film before. ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE gives testament to the planet’s natural wonders, humanity’s thirst for adventure, and the emotional extremes that accompany a year within the last pristine wilderness on the planet.

Production year: 2013 by Director Anthony Powell; Running time: 1h 32m; Language: English; Click here for Music Box Film website. Contact Walter Andriuzzi for more information about the CSU School of Global Environmental Sustainability showing of this film, (970) 492-4215.

Panel discussion to follow, featuring panelists:

Richard Aster, Department of Geosciences, Professor and Department Head. Richard Aster is an Earth scientist with broad interests in geophysics, seismological imaging and source studies, and Earth processes. His work has included significant field research in western North America, Italy, and Antarctica. He also has strong teaching and research interests in geophysical inverse and signal processing methods and am the lead author on the widely used reference volume and textbook "Parameter Estimation and Inverse Problems".

Michael Gooseff, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Associate Professor. Michael Gooseff's PhD research focused on stream-groundwater exchanges in glacial meltwater streams of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. He continues to conduct research in Antarctica. Dr. Gooseff also conducts on-going research in arctic Alaska, mostly from the Toolik Field Station. In Colorado, Dr. Gooseff is conducting research at the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory in the Front Range of Colorado.

Adrian Howkins, Department of History, Assistant Professor. Adrian Howkins is a specialist in Antarctic history and a co-PI of the NSF McMurdo Dry Valley, Antarctica Long Term Ecological Research Program. Adrian has spent several seasons in Antarctica. He lectures and writes extensively on Antarctica, its explorers, climate change and politics. Among his recent papers is the 2012 publication, B. Luedtke and A. Howkins, "Polarized climates: the distinctive histories of climate change and politics in the Arctic and Antarctica since the beginning of the Cold War". WIREs Climate Change, 3: 145-159.

Diana Wall, School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Director. Diana Wall is a renowned environmental scientist who has traveled to Antarctica regularly for several decades researching soil biodiversity  and how global climate change is affecting ecosystems. Wall, who has been at CSU since 1993,  received the highest scientific international award in 2012, “President’s Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research “ from the  Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR)  and was a member of the U. S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel. Wall Valley, Antarctica, was designated for her research in soil ecosystems in 2005. She has 25 field seasons in Antarctica and is a co-PI of the NSF McMurdo Dry Valley, Antarctica Long Term Ecological Research Program.


Development of the South Pole Traverse with David Bresnahan

November 25th  |  7:00pm – 8:00pm  |  Fort Collins Library, 201 Peterson St.

Planning a safe thousand-mile traverse over snow and ice in Antarctica from McMurdo Station to the South Pole.  David Bresnahan is a former Systems Manager, Operations and Logistics with the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs. He began in this role in 1970 and retired in 2007 after 37 years of service. Over the course of his long career, he has spent considerable time at all US stations, McMurdo, Palmer and Pole. David currently runs a consultancy business providing operations, logistics and remote support services, specializing in Polar Regions and science support. In recent years he has also led cruise ship expeditions to Antarctica during the summer months.


Physical Hydrology of the McMurdo Dry Valleys: Ecosystems Waiting for Water with Adam Wlostowski

October 20th  |  7:00pm – 8:00pm  |  Fort Collins Library, 201 Peterson St.

Adam Wlostowski, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University

The McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are one of the coolest and driest environments on Earth. Across this landscape, the scarcity of liquid water is a primary control on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Just like you and I, these ecosystems find it difficult to survive and thrive without liquid water! This lecture will use 21 years of data to review the current and past physical hydrology of the Dry Valleys and discuss the various sources of liquid water across the landscapes. Furthermore, we will explore how regional hydrology might change under warmer climate scenarios and investigate possible ecosystem implications.

Exploration of the Transantarctic Mountains with Dr. James Collinson

April 15th  |  7:00pm – 8:00pm  |  Fort Collins Library, 201 Peterson St.

James W. Collinson, Professor Emeritus, School of Earth Sciences and Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University, will present the second lecture in the Spring 2014 Antarctic Lecture Series on April 15.

The Transantarctic Mountains, one of the longest and highest mountain ranges in the world, separates Antarctica into two distinctly different parts. Its geology gives important clues as to what underlies a thick covering of ice over 98% of the continent. Although positioned at the pole for the past 400 million years, rocks and fossils suggest a mild climate most of the time with an ancient glaciation about 300 million years ago and the present glaciation beginning 34 million years ago.

Under the Ice with Dr. Rick Aster

February 25th  |  7:00pm - 8:00pm  |  Fort Collins Main Public Library

Rick Aster, head of the Department of Geosciences in the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University, will present the first in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability Spring 2014 Antarctic Lecture Series Feb. 25.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, takes place 7-8 p.m. at the Fort Collins Main Public Library, 201 Peterson St. The topic is "Under the Ice: The Geophysical Unveiling of the Antarctic Continent.”

Aster, a principal investigator on the POLENET-ANET project, will discuss recent research, supported by the National Science Foundation, into the geological structure and history of Antarctica, and outline how the tectonic, volcanic, and other processes within the solid Earth have interacted with past and present ice sheets.

Modern technological developments have made it possible to look through Antarctica's enormous ice sheets to study the geology of Antarctica. Using high-resolution deep Earth imaging, seismic event detection, GPS positioning, and other geophysical methods developed on other continents, researchers have been revealing what lies beneath the continent.

An End to the Trend with Dr. Michael Gooseff

November 5th  |  7:00pm - 8:00pm  |  Fort Collins Main Public Library

Despite cold temperatures and very little precipitation, the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDVs) of Antarctica support vibrant ecosystems. Until 2000 MDV ecosystems were thought to be changing in response to a decade long cooling trend. However, an exceptionally high melt year occurred in 2002, influencing stream flow and lake dynamics. This lecture will describe interannual variation in MDV ecosystems, focusing on contrasting drivers of ecological responses pre- and post 2002, i.e., the melt year. Since 2002, MDV ecosystems have ceased responding to the cooling trend and are now reacting to altered environmental conditions with new trajectories and increased variability.