Team

The expedition team will comprise over thirty scientists, technicians, surveyors and other researchers, plus the officers and crew on the ship. The team is interdisciplinary and international, bringing together scientists from different fields and different institutions to research the Weddell Sea’s unique marine environment and the glaciology of the Antarctic ice shelves.

  • Dr John Shears FRGS

    Dr Shears is a polar geographer and environmental scientist with over 25 years’ experience of working in both Antarctica and the Arctic

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    Dr John Shears FRGS

    Dr Shears will be leading the expedition. He is a polar geographer and environmental scientist with over 25 years’ experience of working in both Antarctica and the Arctic, first with the British Antarctic Survey, then as the Treasurer of the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.

    John was an adviser to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Polar Regions Department, and was the UK delegate to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) Scientific Committee for more than twenty years. Dr Shears was also a UK Antarctic Treaty Inspector in 2005, 2012 and 2015, and the environmental adviser to ,and member of, the Shackleton Crossing Expedition to South Georgia in 2016. John is a long-standing Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and has worked closely with the RGS on many polar education and expedition projects for more than a decade.

  • Professor Julian Dowdeswell

    Julian Dowdeswell is the Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Cambridge

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    Professor Julian Dowdeswell

    Julian Dowdeswell is the Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Cambridge. He is a glaciologist/glacial geologist, working on the form and flow of glaciers and ice caps and their response to climate change.

    He studies the links between former ice sheets and the marine geological record, using a variety of satellite, airborne and ship borne geophysical tools. He has worked on the ice and from airborne platforms in a number of areas of the Arctic, including Svalbard, Russian Franz Josef Land and Severnaya Zemlya, Iceland, East Greenland and Baffin, as well as Devon and Ellesmere Islands in Arctic Canada. He has also undertaken many periods of work on icebreaking research vessels in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea, in the fjords and on the continental shelves of Svalbard and Greenland, and in Antarctica.

  • Evelyn Dowdeswell

    Evelyn is a Research Associate at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge University

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    Evelyn Dowdeswell

    Evelyn is a Research Associate at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge University. She is a glacial geologist with a Masters Degree from the University of Colorado, where she studied at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

    Her most recent work has involved contributing to and co-editing the Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms, a 600-page compilation of multibeam echo-sounding and associated stratigraphic datasets from Arctic and Antarctic waters. She has also authored children’s books on Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton.

  • Dr Lucy Woodall

    Dr Woodall is a marine biologist whose work broadly focuses on elucidating the processes that drive biodiversity in the marine biome

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    Dr Lucy Woodall

    Dr Woodall is a marine biologist whose work broadly focuses on elucidating the processes that drive biodiversity in the marine biome, including the impacts of human activities, and understanding the resilience of the ocean.  She has led numerous field expeditions to coastal and deep-sea locations and her microplastics research was the first to reveal the ubiquity of this pollutant in the deep sea which led to further work on marine debris in our most remote oceans.

    She leads the scientific research at Nekton, is a founder member of the IUCN SSC Seahorses, Pipefish and Stickleback Specialist Group and she also provides expert opinion for national and international organisations and governments on marine conservation issues including earth systems plastics. Dr Woodall is also a Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum, London and a council member of the Ray Society. Lucy has been featured in five television documentaries, interviewed for three national radio shows and she regularly gives talks to non-scientific audiences.

  • Mr Mensun Bound

    Mensun Bound is a retired Triton Senior Research Fellow in Marine Archaeology at Oxford University and a fellow of St Peter’s College, Oxford

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    Mr Mensun Bound

    Mensun Bound is the former Triton Fellow in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Oxford, his career spanning from Lincoln College, to St Catherine’s College and in his later years as a Fellow of St Peter’s College, Oxford. In 1985, he established the Maritime Archaeological Research (MARE) unit at Oxford.

    He has produced numerous publications and books on maritime archaeology and has led many notable excavations, including that of an Etruscan wreck from the 6th century BC off Giglio Island, Italy, the battleship Graf Spee in the River Plate, an Elizabethan ship off the Island of Alderney, and, the deepest hands-on excavation there has been, a porcelain carrier off the coast of Vietnam.

    His work has been the subject of many documentaries including a four-part award-winning series for the Discovery Channel. Mr Bound’s excavated artefacts can be found on permanent display in over ten museums around the world. He is also a trustee of the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust. In the Weddell Sea, Mr Bound will oversee the search for the Endurance.

  • Dr Christine Batchelor

    Dr. Batchelor is a post-doctoral researcher funded by the Norwegian VISTA programme

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    Dr Christine Batchelor

    Dr. Batchelor is a post-doctoral researcher funded by the Norwegian VISTA programme. Her ongoing research has involved Arctic and Antarctic experience and uses a variety of marine geophysical and geological data to reconstruct the configuration and dynamics of former ice sheets.

  • Mr Aleksandr Montelli

    Mr Montelli studied Geography and GIS mapping (BS) at Saint Petersburg State University, followed by a Masters in Geophysics as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Texas, Austin

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    Mr Aleksandr Montelli

    Mr Montelli studied Geography and GIS mapping (BS) at Saint Petersburg State University, followed by a Masters in Geophysics as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Texas, Austin, during which his research focused on examining crustal structure and tectonic history of the Weddell Sea, East Antarctica.

    In 2015, he was awarded a Gates Scholarship to study for a PhD at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, which was conducted under the collaboration of SPRI and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Mr Montelli’s research applies three- and two-dimensional seismic datasets to reconstruct the Quaternary ice-sheet and oceanographic evolution of the vast mid-Norwegian continental margin.

  • Dr Dag Ottesen

    Dr Ottesen is a marine geologist at the Geological Survey of Norway

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    Dr Dag Ottesen

    Dr Ottesen is a marine geologist at the Geological Survey of Norway. He has undertaken many periods of fieldwork in the waters around Svalbard and Northern Norway from scientific research vessels.

    He has worked extensively on the reconstruction of past ice sheet form and flow in the Arctic, using evidence from the marine geophysical and geological record. He has published more than 50 scientific papers on this and related topics.

  • Katherine Hutchinson

    Katherine is a recent PhD graduate from the University of Cape Town

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    Katherine Hutchinson

    Katherine is a recent PhD graduate from the University of Cape Town. Her master’s research focused on the thermohaline variability of the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean and her PhD looked at the role of winds over the Southern Indian Ocean in modulating the seasonal cycle of Agulhas Current volume transport. She is trained as a physical oceanographer but is also passionate about science communication.

    Katherine has taken part in 6 research cruises investigating the variability of the oceans around South Africa and has much experience with at-sea sampling and instrumentation. Katherine will shortly be commencing her post-doc which will use global ocean circulation models to better understand the physical processes that determine western boundary current seasonality. A sub-project of her postdoc will be on bottom water formation in the Weddell Gyre. Katherine is a young and enthusiastic scientist, with a drive to learn more about ocean physics and a desire to communicate her findings to the general public so that everyone may be as captivated by the ocean as she is.

  • Dr Thomas Bornman

    Dr Bornman is the manager of the Coastal Node of the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) as well as a research associate at the Nelson Mandela University

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    Dr Thomas Bornman

    Dr Bornman is the manager of the Coastal Node of the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) as well as a research associate at the Nelson Mandela University, where he completed his undergraduate and postgraduate, majoring in marine botany with project ranging from oceanic phytoplankton, macroalgal mariculture and estuary macrophyte ecology.

    Dr Bornman’s responsibilities include establishing Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites around Southern Africa and the sub-Antarctic as part of the Shallow Marine and Coastal Research Infrastructure. His areas of research include the ecology, biogeography and productivity of oceanic and coastal phytoplankton and microphytobenthos. Thomas has also supervised over twenty post-graduate students from NMMU, UCT and UFH.

  • Dr Sarah Fawcett

    Dr Fawcett is a Lecturer in the Department of Oceanography at the University of Cape Town and is a member of the Southern Ocean Observing System Steering Committee

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    Dr Sarah Fawcett

    Dr Fawcett is a Lecturer in the Department of Oceanography at the University of Cape Town and is a member of the Southern Ocean Observing System Steering Committee. Her research interests include biogeochemical oceanography, nitrogen isotopes and the nitrogen and carbon cycles, drivers of primary productivity and nutrient drawdown, the ocean’s biological carbon pump in the subtropical and polar oceans, the role of the oceans in past, present, and future climate.

    Dr Fawcett has also received a P rating from the National Research Foundation and in 2017 was awarded the South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research (SANCOR) Young Researcher Award.

  • Dr Wolfgang Rack

    Wolfgang Rack is a glaciologist for sea ice and land ice

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    Dr Wolfgang Rack

    Wolfgang Rack is a glaciologist for sea ice and land ice. Based at Gateway Antarctica, a centre for Antarctic studies and research at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, he works as an associate professor for cryosphere and remote sensing. Dr Rack’s research focus is in aircraft and satellite measurements for exploring the mass balance of the Antarctic cryosphere.

    Central to this research question is the detection of ice thickness from space, which allows quantifying mass trends over space and time. He complements these remote sensing studies by ground-based measurements, for which he spent 15 field seasons in Antarctica.

    Dr Rack is a member of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) and also does collaborative research for the Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics Innsbruck (IMGI).

  • Mr Paul Bealing

    Paul Bealing is a geospatial science technician at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

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    Mr Paul Bealing

    Paul Bealing is a geospatial science technician at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. He provides a range of geospatial support services to research programmes including support for survey grade GNSS, plus conventional surveying and hydrographic surveying; use of Trimble postprocessing software products; incorporation of data products into GIS software and field support for research projects.

    He is a qualified Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) pilot and has supported field research programmes and flown these systems in Antarctica since 2015.

  • Ms Olivia King

    Ms King is a documentary producer and director with 9 years’ experience making science and history films for Nova, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Discovery and the BBC.

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    Ms Olivia King

    Ms King is a documentary producer and director with 9 years’ experience making science and history films for Nova, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Discovery and the BBC.

    Recent examples of her work include the Nova series “Volatile Earth” and the History Channel series “Presidents of WW2”. Olive has travelled the world recording the work of scientists and anthropologists of all disciplines.

  • Captain Knowledge Bengu & Captain Freddie Ligthelm

    Masters of SA Agulhas II, Captain Knowledge Bengu and Freddie Lighthelm have been to some of the most remote places on the planet, faced wild oceans and shouldered huge responsibility

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    Captain Knowledge Bengu & Captain Freddie Ligthelm

    Masters of SA Agulhas II, Captain Knowledge Bengu and Freddie Lighthelm have been to some of the most remote places on the planet, faced wild oceans and shouldered huge responsibility.

    Experienced ice pilots, they will be in command of the South African ice breaker as it steers its way through the treacherous southern oceans on this mission of science and discovery.

  • Dr Jeffrey Evans

    Dr Evans is a Senior Lecturer in physical geography at Loughborough University

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    Dr Jeffrey Evans

    Dr Evans is a Senior Lecturer in physical geography at Loughborough University. His research interests focus on investigating marine and terrestrial sediment and landform records to better understand Quaternary ice-mass and environmental change and glacigenic and glacimarine sedimentation in the Arctic and Antarctic using shipborne geological and geophysical tools combined with terrestrial landscape and glacier surveying and airborne tools.

    He has extensive experience of fieldwork in the Arctic and Antarctica. This has involved working on the ice and land, during field expeditions, including Northeast and East Greenland, Svalbard and Arctic Sweden. He has undertaken many periods of marine-based work on a number of different icebreaking research vessels in the fjords and on the continental shelves of Northeast, East and West Greenland, Svalbard Archipelago, Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica, and in the polar North Atlantic region and deep-sea regions surrounding Antarctica.

  • Mr Leon Wuis

    Mr. Wuis, is a Senior Sea Technician in the National Marine Facilities Department of the Netherlands Institute of Oceanographic Research

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    Mr Leon Wuis

    Mr. Wuis, is a Senior Sea Technician in the National Marine Facilities Department of the Netherlands Institute of Oceanographic Research.  Mr. Wuis has provided technical coring support on numerous marine research cruises including on the SA Agulhas in South African waters in 2000.

  • Dr Michelle Taylor

    Dr Michelle Taylor is a deep-sea ecologist whose PhD focused on sub-Antarctic benthic organisms, specifically coral

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    Dr Michelle Taylor

    Dr Michelle Taylor is a deep-sea ecologist whose PhD focused on sub-Antarctic benthic organisms, specifically coral. She is interested in how populations across the vast deep sea are connected. To investigate this she uses deep-sea robots to collect video and specimens which are used to compare communities of organisms. She then compares specimen genomics to investigate levels of gene flow between locations.

    Dr Taylor’s work has so far covered many geographic locations in the Indian, Atlantic, and Southern ocean. Dr Taylor runs the octo-list, has described many species of coral, and has a deep-sea cucumber and a deep-sea coral named after her. She has also, with Dr Woodall, worked on deep-sea microplastics and been involved in the BBC Planet II series.

  • Dr Frazer Christie

    Dr. Frazer Christie is a glacier-geophysicist at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, and holds an MA (Hons.) from the University of Aberdeen and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh

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    Dr Frazer Christie

    Dr. Frazer Christie is a glacier-geophysicist at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, and holds an MA (Hons.) from the University of Aberdeen and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh.

    His research utilises a broad range of satellite, airborne geophysical and climate and ocean modelling techniques to ascertain the timing, magnitude and drivers of glaciological change at work across coastal Antarctica since the onset of the satellite era (c. 1970), with a view to ultimately informing estimates of Antarctica’s past, present and future contribution to global sea-level rise.

  • Annie Bekker

    Anriëtte (Annie) Bekker pursued her under-graduate and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering at StelIenbosch University in South Africa

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    Annie Bekker

    Anriëtte (Annie) Bekker pursued her under-graduate (2001) and Masters (cum-laude, 2004) degrees in Mechanical Engineering at StelIenbosch University in South Africa. She continued towards her PhD in injury mitigation in the development of landmine resistant vehicles at the University of Cape Town and graduated in 2008. From 2008 to 2011 she worked at Optimal Energy (Pty) Ltd, a South African company which endeavoured to design and engineer Africa’s first battery electric vehicle.

    Since 2011, she has been permanently appointed at Stellenbosch University as a senior lecturer (2011 – 2018) and associate professor (2018 to present) in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. She teaches under-graduate courses in Sound and Vibration and Strength of Materials and is the director of the Sound and Vibration Research Group. This Group is currently focussed on the psychoacoustic design of electric vehicles and vibration responses of polar supply and research vessels in the Arctic and Antarctic. Further research interests include occupational health studies on whole-body vibration exposure, signal processing and modal analysis.

  • Holly Ewart

    Holly Ewart studied History at the University of Bristol, with a particular focus on Marine and Environmental History

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    Holly Ewart

    Holly Ewart studied History at the University of Bristol, with a particular focus on Marine and Environmental History. After graduating Holly began working for Ocean Infinity as a management trainee. She has just come back from two months off-shore in the search for ARA San Juan submarine and will be joining the expedition to help co-ordinate and oversea the logistics, outreach and media content.

  • Betina Frinault

    Betina Frinault is a marine biologist at the University of Oxford where, in coordination with the Nekton Foundation, she holds a research studentship on the NERC-Oxford Doctoral Training Partnership in Environmental Research

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    Betina Frinault

    Betina Frinault is a marine biologist at the University of Oxford where, in coordination with the Nekton Foundation, she holds a research studentship on the NERC-Oxford Doctoral Training Partnership in Environmental Research. Betina’s focus includes community, population and conservation ecology of marine environments, science communication, citizen science and ocean advocacy. Supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Betina is a participant in a multi-disciplinary, independent think-tank studying anthropogenic impacts on Antarctic marine ecosystems. She holds an MSc from the University of Oxford specialising in deep-sea mining implications and benthic communities of Southwest Indian Ocean Ridge seamounts, and is a graduate of the School of Ocean Sciences, University of Bangor.

  • Science

    The Weddell Sea Expedition 2019 will provide an unprecedented opportunity to investigate and explore one of the most remote, and least studied, places on our planet.

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  • Education

    The mission of the Scott Polar Research Institute is to enhance the understanding about these areas through scholarly research and publication.

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  • Exploration

    This expedition will be the first to use Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) in the search for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship, Endurance.

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