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Antarctic Science

Fundamentals of climate change

Antarctica is the engine room of the World’s climate, and harbours life that has adapted to extreme changes in the environment. Researchers at Otago University are working to understand how the Antarctic climate functions, the special adaptations of Antarctic species to their cold environment, and how the Antarctic ecosystem functions in terms energy flow and trophic complexity. Much of our research helps us to understand how the Antarctic will response to climate change processes.

Otago researchers collaborate at the national and international level with organisation including GNS, NIWA, ANDRILL, British Antarctic Survey, Alfred Wegner Polar Institute, AIMS, Scripps, GEOMAR as well as a number of New Zealand and overseas universities. Otago University also has facilities for returning Antarctic animals to New Zealand for off-ice research.

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Research Projects     TopButton

Researchers in Marine Science are involved in a range of Antarctica New Zealand research projects

Food web structure in Antarctica

Responses on Antarctic larval stages to environmental change (Ozone depletion and ultraviolet radiation, ocean acidification, sea temperature changes)

Response of Antarctic fish and larvae to hydrocarbon pollution.

Antarctic drilling programmes (ANDRILL) exploring past climates and responses of Antarctic Ice sheets climate change.

Physiological adaptations in Antarctic invertebrates.

The thermal biology of Antarctic invertebrates, and their responses to future increases in sea temperatures.

Changes in growth rates in Antarctic invertebrates over the past century.

Opportunities     TopButton

Here on the doorstep to the Antarctic, you can carry out ground-breaking research into the global changes taking place in the world’s oceans.

Marine Science at Otago has an excellent record of collaborating with national and international organisations to undertake Antarctic research. Collaborators have been integrated into ongoing research programmes supported by Otago University and Antarctica New Zealand.

Students are critical to the success of Antarctic research programmes, participate in Antarctic research every year. As a student working in Antarctica, you will learn what you need to know in order to design your own research – and then carry it out. We have the resources, scholarships, staff and opportunities you need to reach your goals.

Selected Recent Publications     TopButton

  • Riesselman, C., & Dunbar, R. B. (2013). Diatom evidence for the onset of Pliocene cooling from AND-1B, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 369, 136-153. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.10.014
  • Cook, C. P., van de Flierdt, T., Williams, T., Hemming, S. R., Iwai, M., Kobayashi, M., … Riesselman, C., … and IODP Expedition 318 Scientists. (2013). Dynamic behaviour of the East Antarctic ice sheet during Pliocene warmth. Nature Geoscience, 6(9), 765-769. doi: 10.1038/ngeo1889
  • Wing SR, McLeod RJ, Leichter JJ, Frew RD, Lamare MD (2012) Sea ice microbial production supports Ross Sea benthic communities; influences of a small but stable subsidy. Ecology 93: 314-323
  • Morley AS, Martin SM, Bates AE, Clark MS, Ericson J, Lamare M, Peck LS (2012) Spatial and temporal variation in the heat tolerance limits of two abundant Southern Ocean invertebrates. Mar Ecol Progress Series 450: 81-92
  • Lamare M, Burritt D, Lister KL (2011) Ultraviolet radiation and Echinoderms: Past, Present and Future Perspective. Advances in Marine Biology 59: 145-181
  • Ericson JA, Lamare, MD, Morley SA, Barker MF (2010) The response of two ecologically important Antarctic invertebrates (Sterechinus neumayeri and Parborlasia corrugatus) to reduced seawater pH: Effects on fertilisation and embryonic development. Marine Biology, 157, 2689-2702.
  • Lurman GJ, Blaser T, Lamare MD, Tan K-S, Poertner H, Peck LS, Morley S (2010) Ultrastructure of pedal muscle as a function of temperature in nacellid limpets. Marine Biology.
  • Bates AE, Lee RW, Tunnicliffe V, Lamare MD (2010) Deep-sea hydrothermal vent animals seek cooler fluids than other aquatic species. Nature communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1014
  • Lister K, Lamare M, Burritt D (2010) Sea ice protects the embryos of the Antarctic sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri from oxidative damage due to naturally enhanced levels of UV-B radiation. J. Experimental Biology 213: 1967-1975
  • Lurman GJ, Blaser T, Lamare MD, Peck LS, Morley S (2010) Adaptation in ancient animals: Mitochondrial plasticity in brachiopod (Liothyrella sp.) smooth adductor muscle as a result of season and latitude. Marine Biology 157: 907-913
  • Isely N, Lamare M, Marshall C, Barker M (2009) Expression of the DNA repair enzyme, photolyase, in developmental tissues and larvae, and in response to ambient UV-R in the Antarctic sea urchin, Sterechinus neumayeri. Photochemistry and Photobiology. 85: 1168-1176
  • Clark D, Lamare M, Barker M (2009) Response of sea urchin pluteus larvae (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) to reduced seawater pH: a comparison among a tropical, temperate, and a polar species. Marine Biology 156: 1125-1137
  • Griffith GP, Vennell R, Lamare MD (2009) Diadinoxanthin cycle of the bottom ice algal community during spring in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Polar Biology 32: 623-636
  • Lamare MD, Barker MF, Lesser MP (2007) In situ rates of DNA damage and abnormal development in Antarctic and non-Antarctic sea urchin embryos. Aquat. Biol. 1: 21-32
  • Wilson, G S, Pekar, S F, Naish, T R, Passchier, S, DeConto, R: The Oligocene-Miocene Boundary – Antarctic Climate response to Orbital Forcing. Developments in Earth & Environmental Sciences, v. 8, 369-400, 2009.
  • Naish, T R, Wilson, G S: Constraints on the amplitude of Mid-Pliocene (3.6-2.4 Ma) eustatic sea-level fluctuations from the New Zealand shallow-marine sediment record. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, v. 367, 169-187, ., 2009.
  • Ohneiser, C, Wilson, G S, Field, B D, Crundwell, M P: A new high-resolution, middle Miocene magnetostratigraphy from western Southland, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics, v. 51, 261-274, 2008.
  • Naish, T R; Wilson, G S; Dunbar, G B; Barrett, P J., 2008. Constraining the amplitude of Late Oligocene bathymetric changes in western Ross Sea during orbitally-induced oscillations in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet: (2) Implications for global sea-level changes. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 260, p. 66-76, 2008.
  • Johnston, L, Wilson, G S, Gorman, A R, Henrys, S A, Horgan, H, Clark, R, Naish, T R: Cenozoic basin evolution beneath the southern McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Global and Planetary Change, v. 62, 61-76, 2008.
  • Wilson, G S; Florindo, F; Sagnotti, L; Ohneiser, C: Paleomagentism of the AND-1B core, ANDRILL McMurdo Ice Shelf Project, Antarctica. Terra Antartica, vol. 14, p. 289-296, 2007.
  • Wilson, G S, Levy, R H, Brown, G; Dunbar, N; Florindo, F; Henrys, S; Graham, I; McIntosh, W C; McKay, R; Naish, T R; Ohneiser, C; Powell, R D; Ross, J; Sagnotti, L; Scherer, R P; Sjunesskog, C; Strong, C P; Taviani, M; Winter, D M; ANDRILL MIS Science Team. Preliminary integrated chronostratigraphy of the AND-01B drill core, ANDRILL McMurdo Ice Shelf Project, Antarctica. Terra Antartica, vol. 14, p. 297-316, 2007.
  • Wilson, G S; Damaske, D; Moller, H D; Tinto, K; Jordan, T: The geological evolution of southern McMurdo Sound – new evidence from a high-resolution aeromagnetic survey. Geophysical Journal International, vol 170, p 93-100, 2007.
  • Gilichinsky, D A; Wilson, G S; Friedmann, E I; McKay, C P; Sletten, R S; Erokhina, L G; Fyodorov-Davydov, D G; Hallet, B; Ivanushkina, N E; Kochkina, G A; Laurinavichyus, K S; Ozerskaya, S M; Rivkina, E M; Shcherbakova, V A; Soina, V S; Sorokovikov, V A; Spirina, E S; Vishnivetskaya, T A; Vorobyova, E A; Chanton, J; Shatilovitch, A V; Ostroumov, V E; Mamukelashvili, A; Tiedje, J M: Multi-million-year survival of biota in Antarctic Permafrost: Implication for Astrobiology. Astrobiology, vol 7, p 275-311, 2007.