Upcoming Events

  • POLAR2018: Abstract Submission 1 Sep 2017 – 1 Nov 2017 Submit your abstract by 1 November to POLAR2018 at http://www.polar2018.org/abstracts.html. Abstract submission will cost 30 CHF per abstract but you can apply for a grant to have the submission fee waived.
  • International Polar Week 18 Sep 2017 – 24 Sep 2017 Everywhere! For more information visit http://www.apecs.is/outreach/international-polar-week.html.
  • Deadline for Applications: SSAG 4th Writing Workshop 22 Sep 2017 University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa Application deadline to the 4th SSAG writing workshop.
  • ANTPAS (Antarctic Permafrost and Soils) Group Workshop 4 Oct 2017 at 9:00 AM – 6 Oct 2017 at 7:00 PM Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, Via Ravasi, 2, 21100 Varese VA, Italy Website: www.antpas.org
  • POLAR2018: Early Bird Registration 1 Nov 2017 – 31 Mar 2018 Early bird registration (550 CHF) to POLAR2018 is available until 31 March '17. Student fees of 330 CHF are available - you must have a valid student ID and be registered to study full-time at university. Register online at http://www.polar2018.org/registration.html.
  • 9th International Conference on Geomorphology (ICG) 6 Nov 2017 – 11 Nov 2017 Vigyan Bhawan, Rajpath Area, Central Secretariat, New Delhi, Delhi 110011, India Website: http://www.icg2017.com
  • Antarctica Day 1 Dec 2017 Everywhere! Celebrate Antarctica!
  • AGU Fall Meeting 11 Dec 2017 – 15 Dec 2017 New Orleans, LA, USA Website: http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2016/future-meetings/
  • POLAR2018: Normal registration 1 Apr 2018 – 25 May 2018 Normal registration (630 CHF) to POLAR2018 is open until 25 May '17. Student fees of 330 CHF are available - you must have a valid student ID and be registered to study full-time at university.Register online at http://www.polar2018.org/registration.html.
  • APECS 2nd World Summit 17 Jun 2018 – 18 Jun 2018 Davos, Switzerland Join the 2nd day of the APECS World Summit! Have a look at the program at https://www.apecs.is/events/upcoming-event-highlights/polar-2018/apecs-world-summit-2018.html.


See Marius speak at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on 31 August from 18:30-18:40! Marius will present on APECS and APECSSA at the upcoming IAPSO-IAMAS-IAGA Assembly. Have look at the preliminary program for the Early Career Scientists networking session here. Will you be attending? Send us a photo of your presentation / poster / or anything else of interest (with a short description) and we’ll post it on our website.


New Publication

Did you ever want to know how vibrations can effect the comfort levels of sailors, researchers and other passengers on a polar research vessel? Have look at the recent article published by researchers from the University of Stellenbosch. The article Whole-body vibration exposure on board a Polar Supply and Research Vessel in open water and in ice, published in Cold Regions Science and Technology (Vol 141, pgs 188-200), provides measurements of a comfort benchmark for the design and evaluation of future polar research vessels in operational conditions.

APECS Newsletter August ’17

The latest APECS newsletter is out and there’s lots happening in this issue. Would you like to be part of the APECS Council, then don’t forget to apply? Polar Week 2018 is also coming up and there is lots on offer so check out the schedule here. You can also enter the FrostByte competition! Check out the Polar Film Festival 2017, apply to the 2018 Polar Prediction School and don’t forget to complete the APECS Education & Outreach Survey. You can have a look at the whole newsletter here.

APECS Education & Outreach Survey

Has APECS assisted you in how you engage with the public about your research? Have you ever attended an APECS organised event? Why don’t you take part in the APECS Education and Outreach Survey! It will only take a few minutes to complete. The survey deadline is 18 September. You also don’t need to be a current APECS member, as long as you were at one time part of APECS.

APECS Polar Week

5055dcbb-54d3-47ac-9f80-c446b293082e.jpgThe APECS International Polar Week Fall 2017 is just around the corner. The week will take place from 18 to 24 September and consists of a series of events happening globally, with the goal of promoting the science taking place in polar latitudes. You can learn more about the #PolarWorld by joining the online events throughout Polar Week:

How can APECS SA get involved? Send us your ideas and attend events near you!

Also have a look at what other countries are doing by looking at the Polar Week activities from around the world!

Our first newsletter!

We have published the first edition of our newsletter and you can now download it as a PDF. If you have any comments please let us know. The next issue of the newsletter will hopefully be webpage and browser enabled but this is a work in progress and we welcome all input. We are also looking for a name for our newsletter so why don’t you join our poll and vote for your preferred name?

What can you look froward to in this issue? We are introducing APECSSA and the South African National Committee. Have a look at our Events Calendar, and how you can get involved with APECSSA. We also provide a bit of background information on the South African National Antarctic Program (SANAP) and the National Research Foundation (NRF), who fund the scientific projects. Keen to know what kind of projects are funded under the NRF and SANAP? We provide a short list and if your project is not listed – but you would like it to appear on our website – you can send us your project’s information using the form on Page 6 of the newsletter. We hope you enjoy the read! 

Marion Island Relief Voyage 2017

It was the autumn of 2017 and the SA Agulhas II is getting ready to set sail across the Southern Indian Ocean to one of her favorite stops – Prince Edward Island group. She will drop her “terrestrial” researchers off at Marion and then set off again with the marine scientists to investigate the Islands and their surrounding waters until mid-May.


A view of the Marion Island Research Base from the helicopter on approach.

Even though this is an annual voyage for the SAAII, the research is continuously developing and advancing. Ongoing research programs such as the Mammal Research Institute’s seal surveys have been running for more than 30 years – one of the longest ongoing surveys of its kind, globally! Other research questions have only emerged recently, with new discoveries in plant genetics and species distribution – where were the glaciers during the last glacial maximum?

Liezel Rudolph

Liezel Rudolph standing on a contact zone between Holocene black lavas and red scoria cones.

A range of universities and institutions are involved in terrestrial and oceanographic research around this pristine environment. The geomorphologists on board from UFH, UNISA and UFS, investigated water quality, wind processes and glacial landforms for signatures of climatic influences on the current landscape. Botanists from UP, RU and SU investigate the response of vegetation to changes in climatic factors and island conditions. They went so far as to vacuum some plant cushions this year to see what the wind transport and where it all ends up.

The Geos

The ‘Geo team’ (l-r): Sbu Sinuka, Werner Nel, David Hedding, Liezel Rudolph, Camilla Kotze.

There is a team of meteorologists who constantly look up into the sky for signs of nasty weather. They warms the rest of us when to rather stay indoors. And the sky is not the limit on Marion! Research programs from SANSA and SKA look beyond the big blue for signals from our sun and beyond to tell us more about the workings of our own galaxy.

This year’s expedition also included a photographic team from USA’s National Geographic Society, doing a story on the life of sea birds. Follow @thomaspeschak and @ottowhitehead on Instagram for their latest release!

SA Agulhas II

The SA Agulhas II in the distance beyond the kelp forest, and Crozet Shags in the foreground on black lava cliffs.

The facilities are maintained by the South African Department of Public Works. Every year during the take-over period, this team works around the clock to ensure the diesel generators are serviced, leaks are fixed and the base remains stable and insulated for the over wintering team who will stay behind once the SAAII returns to Cape Town.

SA Agulhas II

Admiring the SA Agulhas II anchored off Marion Island.

The overwintering team await in anticipation for the return of the mother ship in April 2018, carrying another team of eager take-over personnel who will scrutinise the island for more scientific answers, or more questions.

Liezel speaks of her experiences in Antarctica

Interested in what a typical field day in Antarctica is like? Have a read of Liezel’s experiences as a field scientist to the South African research station (SANAE IV) in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. Liezel is also the Organisational Liaison of APECSSA and has, through her studies, visited both Antarctica and Marion Island twice.


SCAR Newsletter

The latest SCAR Newsletter is available. Have a read through it here. You can volunteer to become a video blogger for the upcoming Polar2018 conference, to be held in Davos, Switzerland.

SAAG Conference

5-2-2017 10-22-22 PM

The 2017 Biennial Society of Southern African Geomorphologist’s (SAAG) conference has started and two of our National Committee members, Liezel and Christel, are in attendance. Venue is the University of Swaziland in Manzini (Kwaluseni). The day started off with a welcoming note by the Vice-Chancellor of the university, followed by an address and opening of the conference by the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs of the Kingdom of Swaziland. The next two days will be jam-packed with exciting presentations on everything ranging from erosion research to cold climate studies. A workshop on the use of bio-engineering and Vetiver grass will be held on Friday. For more on the presentations by the attending geomorphologists and professionals, or the ‘landscape detectives‘, have a look at the program here.