The Spirit of Mawson - Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 - 2014

Australasian Antarctic Expedition

PhD Students

  • Naysa Balcazar-Carbrera

    Naysa is a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales with a passion for marine mammal conservation. Before commencing her PhD Naysa worked as a marine biologist in government and consulting roles around Australia, USA, South America and the South Pacific Islands. Naysa is interested in marine mammal spatial ecology, and for her PhD is using acoustics as a tool to infer behaviour, movement and habitat use of blue whales.

    Naysa looks forward to embarking on this great adventure and exploring what lies below the Antarctic ice. Naysa will be part of the marine mammal team during the Australian Antarctic Expedition, studying the acoustics of leopard seals.

    The recordings from this trip will go towards a much larger project examining how the top predators (seals and whales) are responding to the changes in the Antarctic ecosystem, by Naysa’s PhD supervisor Tracey Rogers and her team at the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

  • Alice Barthel

    After a first degree in Engineering, Alice pursued her growing interest in ocean physics. Her PhD project at UNSW focuses on turbulent processes in the Southern Ocean. Using both observations and numerical models, she investigates how underwater mountains affect ocean currents around Antarctica and the impact they may have on global climate.

    In her spare time, Alice enjoys hiking in her native French Alps (or elsewhere!), meeting new people and sharing her enthusiasm for life. From shipwreck diving to traditional Japanese dancing, Alice loves new challenges! She looks forward to joining this extraordinary scientific and human endeavour!

  • Umberto Binetti

    My name is Umberto Binetti, I’m 26 and I’m Italian. After a bachelor in Ecology and Biodiversity and a master in Marine Biology at the University of Pisa, I moved to Norwich (UK) as a PhD student at the School of Enviromental Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

    I currently work with robots called Seagliders to analyse the concentration of oxygen in the North Atlantic. My scientific background is therefore a mix of oceanography (physics and chemistry) and marine biology (plankton, fishes, invasive species, food web). I also have a personal interest for the communication of science, travelling and photography.

  • Christopher Bull

    Chris is a passionate climate scientist, science communicator, photographer and adventurer. As an Australian, he has been familiar with Mawson’s achievements since high school. Chris is inspired by Mawson’s capacity to be a scientist, great communicator and explorer. Chris is currently undertaking a PhD in physical oceanography at the University of New South Wales. Chris’ research looks at the interaction of Australia’s boundary currents both west and south of Australia with an interest in climate modes of variability.

    In his spare time Chris has rock climbed and hiked all over the world, he can’t wait to explore and photograph the subantarctic islands such as Auckland and Campbell islands.

  • Ben Fisk

    Ben is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine, Deakin University, researching rural and urban differences in traumatic brain injury outcomes.  Ben has had a passion for the outdoors since childhood, and has been fortunate in being able to combine his work as a paramedic with international travel and adventures.  With a love of wild and remote places,

    Ben is excited to visit the Southern Ocean and sub-Antarctic islands.  Ben is looking forward to the opportunity to combine his skills, knowledge and enthusiasm whilst participating as a field assistant during leg one of the Spirit of Mawson expedition.

  • Verity Flett

    I am delighted to be part of the AAE team which gives me another excuse to spend time on my favourite obsession – cold remote places, this time by exploring in the Southern Hemisphere!

    I am a PhD student studying at the University of Dundee supported by the British Geological Survey. When I’m not in Scotland I am most likely to be found in south east Iceland where I am investigating the hydrological changes in a rapidly de-glaciating catchment which is an outlet of the largest icecap in Europe, Vatnajökull. Therefore the changes that are taking place in ice covered landscapes are very visible to me and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to help share this perspective with the wider world.

  • Alicia Guerrero

    Alicia is a Marine Biologist and current PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales. Her research interest is the ecology of marine mammals, particularly pinnipeds. She has studied Southern sea lions in Chile and her current research is focused on finding out the diet composition of leopard seals in Antarctica. She is analysing the fatty acid signature of blubber in order to identify what prey type they are feeding on.

    Her overall objective is to determine differences in diet between leopard seal populations from Western and Eastern Antarctica and see how these populations are facing the changing climatic conditions.

  • Ben Hines

    I’m currently a PhD candidate in geology at Victoria University of Wellington, studying the structural and depositional history of the East Coast Basin, New Zealand. My research interests are varied, with current research focusing on a combination of field mapping, sequence stratigraphy, paleomagnetics and thermochronology, whilst my MSc and ongoing research include foraminiferal ecology and trace element paleothermometry.

    I’m passionate about exploring all aspects of the environment around me, and love to get outside, be it climbing mountains, scuba diving or photographing flora and fauna. Studying geology provides the opportunity to do all this, and retains a link to aspects of each of the physical sciences.

  • Willem Huiskamp

    Willem is a PhD candidate in oceanography and paleo-climate at the Climate Change Research Centre. He uses earth system models to investigate the effects of changes in the Southern Hemisphere’s Westerly winds on the climate, in particular, on the carbon cycle. The westerlies are an important feature of Southern Hemisphere climate system, driving ocean currents and controlling the exchange of carbon between the air and sea. This research is in the context of the last 1000 years and how these winds may have changed the climate during this time.

    On the expedition, he will be engaged in the science program and outreach via photography and video work.

  • David Hutchinson

    I am a PhD student in physical oceanography at the Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW, Sydney. I am investigating causes of the north-south asymmetry in global warming, and how ocean dynamics contribute to this asymmetry. In the first part of my project, I showed that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current plays an important role in keeping the Southern Hemisphere sea surface cooler under global warming.

    I am currently examining the role of eddy dynamics upon this asymmetry through a high resolution coupled ocean-atmosphere model. I am looking forward to seeing the Southern Ocean first hand on the AAE.

  • Mat Lipson

    Mat’s main passions are science, cities and wild places. From a background in architecture, he is currently completing a B.Sc in Physics with Honours in Climate Science, with a particular interest in urban microclimates.

    As a youngster, Mat’s grandfather told him stories of Mawson’s journeys, and as a teenager he devoured all the writings of expeditions in the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration. Inspired, Mat has worked in remote areas of Papua New Guinea and hiked through the Himalayas, Norway and the European Alps. These days, he defies death by riding through Sydney’s CBD to study and assist with logistics for the Spirit of Mawson expedition.

  • James MacDiarmid

    James trained as a Primary school teacher, with a Masters degree in Educational Leadership. He is currently completing his doctorate in educational sciences with a primary focus on the early years of both pre-school and primary students.

    James has always had a strong passion for environmental advocacy and love for the great outdoors. In a new world, driven by technological advancement, he is pursuing a career in ensuring that our young minds are still given the opportunities to engage, learn and be a part of the natural world.

    James is also currently consulting for an NGO called Big Fat Smile as a curriculum consultant.

  • Shirley Qiu

    Shirley is a PhD student working on circulation and nutrient transport of the Equatorial Undercurrent using a Lagrangian framework. The Equatorial Undercurrent is the major provider of nutrients supporting productivity in the tropical Pacific. She previously completed her Honours on something slightly more physics oriented – mixing efficiency in shear driven flows.

    On the expedition, she will be helping out with both the science program and outreach to those on board and to the rest of the world.

  • Colin Tan

    Colin came across the opportunity to join the AAE 2013-2014 whilst completing his PhD at The University of Auckland. His scientific research includes PhD work on Botrytis cinerea, a MSc on Helicobacter pylori as well as clinical research as part BLIS technologies and Douglas Pharmaceuticals.

    As well as his scientific interests he also has an interest in pre-hospital care and research both as a Paramedic and a Clinical Project Manager for St John New Zealand. He brings to the expedition his love of the outdoors, great sense of adventure and excitement at the opportunity to go to Antarctica.

  • Zöe Thomas

    I’m a PhD student from the University of Exeter, UK. My research examines abrupt climate changes in the past to see if early warning signals of these changes can be detected through time-series analysis of the data before the shift occurs. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a range of different archives including ice, lake and ocean cores from sites around the world.

    I’m incredibly excited to be part of the AAE to get hands on with the science that contributes to the understanding of our climate in the past, as well as predictions for our future.

  • Andrea Torti

    Andrea Torti is a microbial ecologist. He was born and educated in Italy, where he got his master’s degree in biotechnology from the University of Pavia. After moving to Denmark, his interest shifted somewhat closer to ecology, and he is now pursuing his PhD degree in microbiology at the Center for Geomicrobiology, University of Aarhus.

    His research is aimed at discovering what fossil DNA preserved in sediment can tell about responses and adaptations of marine microbial life to environmental changes.

    He joined the AAE out of growing interest for science communication and sheer pleasure for being at sea.

  • Greg de Wet

    Hi everyone! My name is Greg de Wet and I’m a PhD student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst studying paleoclimatology. My work entails reconstructing past climate from lake sediments in the high latitudes. My Masters research focused on a Holocene (past~11,000 years) lake record from SE Greenland. For my PhD I am working on a much longer sediment record from Lake El’gygytgyn in Siberia that spans the last 3.6 million years.

    I really enjoy being in the field and conducting meaningful research that will teach us about how climate has changed in the past.