Outreach

As well as this website and the blog we will be writing over the next two years, we will also be undertaking a number of other outreach events, within both the academic and non-academic worlds.  We’ll provide short summaries of these events on this page as they happen, most recent at the top.  If you are interested in us coming to your school or event to talk about the project then please get in touch with Dr Matt Amesbury to discuss further – our time is not unlimited (you might have gathered from the How? page that we have rather a lot of samples to analyse!) but we understand the importance communicating our research to a wider audience so we will do our best to help.

University of Cambridge Open Day, July 2014

Jessica helped out on the Natural Sciences stand talking to lots of prospective students and parents about studying biology in Cambridge – and even discussed Antarctic moss on a few occasions too!

The Dragon School, Oxford.  Talk to Year 8 pupils, July 2014

Jessica gave a talk to about 80 Year 8 pupils about climate change and working in Antarctica. There were lots of great questions about elephant seal diets and life spans, wi-fi availability and radiocarbon dating and she has already been invited back next year!

Festival of Plants, May 2014

The second “Festival of Plants” was held at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and Antarctic moss was a popular feature of the Physiological Ecology Group’s contribution to the “pop-up science” tent, with many people keen to join the 'mossy posse'!

European Geophysical Union (EGU) conference, Vienna, April 2014

We gave an oral presentation about our work in the “Stable isotopes as a tool in (paleo-) climate studies in different environments and by multi-proxy approaches” session at EGU 2014, a conference attended by over 12,000 scientists. Read the abstract for the talk, which combined results from our Current Biology article (see below) with our ongoing work on understanding the isotopic composition of water and surface moss cellulose from across the Antarctic Peninsula, which we plan to submit for publication soon.

Schools outreach, March 2014

Jessica talked to a group of sixth formers from Manchester visiting Cambridge to find out more about the university and scientific career options. Feedback from the teacher in charge said that they had “found it really interesting” and “one of the students who had been less-than-enthusiastic about the trip was really caught by the idea of working in Antarctica.”

Quaternary Research Association (QRA) 50th anniversary meeting, London, Jan 2014

Following a successful trip to the AGU conference, we presented our poster based on our Current Biology publication at the QRA Quaternary Revolutions conference. Within a busy palaeoecology poster session we had a number of interesting conversations with fellow delegates about our work. We heard very relevant talks by some leading scientists about 'measuring time' and the 'causes of climate change'. We also enjoyed fascinating presentations about topics as diverse as 'ice sheet dynamics' and 'human origins'. You can download the poster we presented by clicking on the following link: AGU/QRA@50 poster (.pdf) (same as AGU poster below).

Guest blogs

We've recently contributed a couple of guest blogs to other researchers related websites. Please follow the links below to read the articles.

Antarctic science - it's NOT all about the ice! on Antarctic Glaciers

Testate amoebae from the end of the earth! on the blog of ISTAR - the International Society of Testate Amoeba Research

Talk to the Cambridge Zero Carbon Society

In late October 2013, Jessica gave a lunchtime talk and engaged in discussion about our project and recent Current Biology paper with members of the Cambridge Zero Carbon Society, a student organisation at the University of Cambridge that aims to provide a platform for students to learn, engage and act on climate change.

Contributions to Bogology.org

Bogology is a new science outreach website sharing the science of peatlands and past climate change.  There are three blogs and one static page that cover our work in the Antarctic Peninsula - please use the links below to read more.  If you are interested in keeping up to date with Bogology you can like the Facebook page and/or follow @bogology on Twitter!

Bogology in Antarctica

The Antarctic Peninsula: not where you would expect a Bogologist?

Antarctic moss gets five minutes of fame!

How do mosses survive in Antarctica?

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, San Francisco, Dec 2013

This is one of, if not the, largest conferences in all of science.  We will be presenting a poster based primarily on the Current Biology work above, but also including the wider implications of other results.  You can download the poster we presented by clicking on the following link: AGU/QRA@50 poster (.pdf) (same as QRA@50 poster above).

Publicity for Current Biology journal paper, August 2013

In late August 2013 the first journal article from our project was published in Current Biology.  The paper presents results from the most southerly known moss bank which show that moss growth rates, isotopes and microbial productivity all accelerated rapidly in the 1950s, coincident with rapid warming in the Antarctic Peninsula region.  Importantly, we provided historical context to these changes, showing that they were unprecendented in the past 150 years.  You can read the paper here (please contact us if you do not have access to the article). 

The research got a reasonable amount of attention in the press (mainly web-based but we were on the Voice of America radio news!) so hopefully now more people around the world are aware of our moss bank research than ever before!  For example, statistics here show that within a week of publication, 18 people/organisations with a combined following of over 31,000 people had tweeted about our article and we ranked in the 98th percentile of all articles getting attention on the internet.  Great news!

The following links take you to articles on a number of different websites.  The first three made personal contact with us and carried out phone/email interviews with Jessica.  The rest were based solely on the press releases we issued.

Livescience.com (the same article can also be found on NBC News, Yahoo! News, True Blue Liberty and the Oregon Herald)

Voice of America (including photo slide show and audio interview with Jessica.  Distributed to their partner broadcasters in 45 different languages!)

Grist.org (the same article can also be found at Climate Ark)

Science Daily

Examiner.com (the same article can also be found on Top News Today)

AfterBigBang.com

Science Newsline

Phys.org

Hall Ecology

My Science

Science 2.0

Cell Press press release on Eurekalert science news site

British Antarctic Survey, University of Exeter, University of Cambridge (our employers!)

NERC Planet Earth Magazine article, Summer 2013

We wrote and published a short magazine article in a magazine published by our funders that highlights the range of work they support.  The article explains the basic premise of our research project, told through the story of our field campaign in January 2013.  It is written for a lay audience, so please have a read to find out more.  You can find the article here.

UK Antarctic Science Conference, University of Cambridge, September 2012

This conference took place to showcase and discuss the wide range of current research taking place in and around Antarctica.  We presented a poster outlining the basic ideas and science behind our project.  It is written in relatively accessible language, so should be understood by a wide audience. Download a copy of the UK Antarctic Science Conference poster (.pdf).

Ridgefield Primary School, Cambridge.  Lesson with Year 3 class, April 2012

Jessica went to visit a Year 3 class at Ridgefield Primary School in Cambridge and had great fun bringing dry, brown, dead-looking (desiccated) moss “back to life” with a rain shower, showing pictures of Antarctica and answering all the brilliant questions that Mrs France’s class had thought up that covered all the important issues from clothing, to food, to penguins!  You can read a news article about Jessica’s lesson on the school’s website.