Across the Arctic and Antarctica, researchers are working diligently to learn more about polar species, climates, geology and more, in an effort to better educate mankind about these unique areas. The more we know about Polar Regions and their delicate ecosystems, the better equipped we are to preserve and protect them for generations to come.
Learn from our Scientists in Residence
Traveling alone to remote areas scientists and researchers must access to gather data and make observations is cost-prohibitive. Institutions, perennially challenged for funding, are often unable to send researchers on polar expeditions to conduct their research. That's why each year, Quark Expeditions hosts several of these researchers and scientists as part of the Scientists In Residence program, providing free passage to their remote areas of interest.
Meet Dr. Nogué, Palaeoecologist
In this first posting in our "Meet a Scientist in Residence" series, we're pleased to introduce you to Dr. Sandra Nogué, Ph.D.
Dr. Sandra Nogué earned her Ph.D. in Biology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She then obtained her Ph.D. in palaeoecology and biodiversity conservation at the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (CSIC-ICUB) and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 2009, before joining the Long Term Ecology Lab as a Post Doc.
Currently, Dr. Nogué is affiliated with the Oxford Long-term Ecology Laboratory, Biodiversity Institute, and Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford.
What Does a Palaeoecologist Do?
We asked Dr. Nogué to tell us about her current research projects and what she does in the course of her work.
"I am a palaeoecologist who explores the mechanisms by which vegetation interacts with the environment," she explained. "My research interest is bringing the perspectives of space and time to bear on questions in ecology and global change science."
Dr. Nogué is currently involved in several projects, including basic palaeoecological studies and more applied research projects (ecosystem services). You can learn more about her projects and publications on the Oxford Long-Term Ecology and Resource Stewardship Lab website.
Antarctic Research & the CATPOL Project
We asked Dr. Nogué about the work she's doing while traveling to Antarctica with Quark Expeditions.
"The project Catching Pollen Grain In Antarctica (CATPOL) will address a key knowledge gap within Antarctic ecosystems – namely, the dispersal capacity of pollen grains and their relationship between modern pollen-vegetation in the landscape," she said. "During the field season, we will install pollen traps across the sub Antarctica and Antarctica peninsula. We aim to disentangle whether the pollen composition suspended in the atmosphere reflects the modern vegetation."
This is important, she explained, because both pollen and seeds play a significant role in gene flow in plant populations. "Traveling with Quark Expeditions is essential to develop the pollen trapping project. This project will not happen without Quark's support," she said.
Onboard a Quark Expeditions Vessel with a Scientist in Residence
Dr. Nogué is looking forward to traveling with Quark Expeditions next Antarctic season. What can passengers expect on their Antarctic expedition with her?
"I will be able to share my experience as a palaeoecologist who has been doing fieldwork in the Western Ghats, India, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde in Macaronesia," she told us.
The opportunity to discuss biology and ecology with experts on board is an important part of the Quark polar travel experience. Dr. Nogué explains, "The main value that the program will offer is communicating and discussing science, and sharing the passion for wildlife and why conservation is so important."
It's in these discussions and in raising awareness that truly passionate polar ambassadors are born.
"Perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing science and society today is to detect and predict biological responses to global change such as drought and warming," Dr. Nogué told Quark.
"Passengers will have the chance to learn about past climatic changes and how they have affected current plants and animals. They also will learn interesting things about how scientists investigate the past and the main techniques to trace back those changes."
To learn more about our Scientists in Residence or whether your upcoming expedition features such an expert, please contact our Polar Travel Advisers.
Dr. Sandra Nogué Image credit: University of Oxford