from left to right:
Natasha Van Horsten (first from left, back row): My name is Natasha Van Horsten born and raised in Windhoek, Namibia. I moved to Cape Town in 2007 to attend university. I did an undergrad in chemistry and was employed by CSIR as a lab technician in the water laboratory. I was introduced to the SOCCO project while working at CSIR and was immediately intrigued by the research. I then applied for an MSc studentship with the SOCCO group which I am currently finishing up. For my MSc thesis I am doing ship-based bioassay experiments along the Good hope line between South Africa and Antarctica. The title of my thesis is; Photosynthetic response of Southern Ocean phytoplankton under Fe and light limitations: Bioassay experiment. SANAE 54 is my second consecutive trip to Antarctica and it is a massive honour to be on this adventure. There are so many interesting people and projects that form this trip.
Raissa Philibert (2nd from left, back row): My name is Raissa Philibert. I am from Mauritius and moved to Cape Town in 2007 to start my undergraduate studies. After a Bsc(hons) in Chemistry at the University of Cape Town, I joined the Oceanography Department in 2011 for a MSc investigating the nitrogen cycle in the Southern Ocean and the Benguela upwelling system. My Msc project was upgraded to a PhD in 2012 and I have submitted my thesis earlier this year. For this research cruise, I joined the team from Stellenbosch University as a post-doctoral researcher. My main interest on this trip is to investigate the genetic adaptation of phytoplankton to low iron environments. I am also helping out with the other team members’ projects as it is their first time at sea and might need a bit more guidance while in the field. While I have done a winter cruise in 2012 and other shorter field work, I have never been to “the Ice”. I am very excited about it!
Leigh-Anne Palmer (3rd from left, back row): I was born and raised in the Eastern Cape in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth. I am 21 years old and a student at Stellenbosch University. I have always been an outdoor and adventurous person with a great appreciation for nature and its beauty. I am extremely privileged to have been to chosen to board the SA Agulhas II. My honours project is focused on dissolved macronutrients (N, P, Si) of the Southern Ocean. Different water masses within the Southern Ocean illustrate varying limiting nutrients which translates to the general growth and up-take during photosynthesis. The available macro nutrients in the varying water masses help to understand the carbon dioxide intake as well as the biogeochemical cycle.
Gillian Trollope (4th from left, back row):: My name is Gillian and I am a 22 year old student at the University of Stellenbosch. I grew up on a game farm in Thabazimbi and that was where my passion for the environment and conservation started. I had always planned on doing Environmental Geochemistry for my honours year and when I approached Dr Fietz about possible research projects she mentioned the Antarctica cruise. I knew that it was an opportunity of a life time and have always dreamed of going there after watching numerous amounts of Nation Geographic documentaries about this wild place. My project involves looking at biomarkers which can infer temperatures of the past. This is a project that I am very excited about.
Mari Scott (1st from right, back row): I am from a small town in the West Coast, Jacobsbaai, and have always been interested in Geography and Biology at school. Since high school I always wanted to study Oceanography or Marine Biology but then decided on rather studying Geology at University of Stellenbosch. I chose Geochemistry as one of my modules, because I knew I would have the opportunity to learn about the Marine part of Geology. In third year, when we had to choose on honours projects, I immediately went to Dr Susanne Fietz, our second year Geochemistry lecturer, to find out which projects she had. She told me about the different projects they were planning for sampling water from Cape Town to Antarctica. I was immediately intrigued because this meant that I would be able to do a project which is linked to Marine Biology. My project is the incubation of dust and the effect it has on primary productivity.
Ryan Cloete (1st from right, front row): Raised in Durban I finished my schooling career at Kearsney College before moving to Stellenbosch where I recently graduated with a BSc in Earth Science. My interest in the natural world started from a young age where I used to fire a stream of unending questions at my dad on our numerous camping and fishing trips. I am a very curious person by nature and so upon being offered this once in a lifetime opportunity to come aboard the SA Agulhas 2 was a dream come true. To be able to mix travel and the chance to meet roughly 100 like-minded scientists from various fields will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable and important trips in my life. I can’t believe how fortunate I am to be in this position and cannot wait to share my stories, photos and knowledge gained with my family and friends back home.
Jean Loock (2nd from right, front row): Jean Loock-born on the 03/01/1991 in Middelburg, Eastern Cape. Schooled at Kingswood Junior followed by Grey High School. Culturally I have experienced a lot in my short lifetime. Travelling is a family favourite and I have been many places around the world, most recently China and Thailand. I am an active individual with diverse talents and interests. Sport has always been my escape from life’s other tedious activities. I have cycled and ran track at provincial and National levels. At the same time I have always been drawn toward academics. Interest in learning has been there since a young age and through some mistakes (i.e. path corrections), I have found myself a graduated (in absentia) Earth Scientist majoring in Environmental Geochemistry. This has afforded me the opportunity to be aboard the Aghulhas on its 2014/2015 Antarctic voyage. My focus on the trip will be particulate Iron (Fe) (>0.2µm) and its relative abundance or rather scarcity in the Southern Ocean. We aim to study the particles to determine their characteristics and through this assess bioavailability to phytoplankton. This allows us to look at the impact which seeding Fe could have on blooms, thus help reducing CO2 in the atmosphere.