Most associate the continent of Antarctica with great expanses of ice, freezing temperatures and colonies of penguins — not with rich biodiversity. According to Steven Chown, a professor of biological sciences at Monash University in Australia, Antarctica and its surrounding oceans are teeming with life.

On Thursday afternoon, Chown came to speak on this biodiversity and the future of Antarctica at Yale’s Environmental Science Center. The talk was part of the Max Planck – Yale Center for Biodiversity Movement and Global Change seminar series.

“The future of Antarctica and its biodiversity is of clear and present global significance to everyone — the source may be distant, but the signal is loud,” Chown said.

Chown serves as the president and Australian delegate to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and the chair of the National Committee for Antarctic Research of the Australian Academy of Science. According to Chown, modern communication technologies have made it easier to balance his work in Australia and Antarctica. He explained that much of the Antarctic field season is in the southern hemisphere’s summer, which overlaps with summer vacation for universities, allowing him to manage university responsibilities and communications through technology while in the Antarctic.

Chown began the seminar by discussing the marine and terrestrial diversities of the continent and Southern Ocean, the ocean surrounding Antarctica. Through the examples of organisms such as birds and plankton, Chown explained that the structure of diversity in the Antarctic is both ecologically familiar and unfamiliar in many ways.

According to Chown, Antarctica is in a unique geopolitical position. Antarctica does not belong to any one country, according to the Antarctic Treaty, which was put into international law in 1959. This geopolitical position has kept Antarctica rather pristine and protected for the past few decades, Chown said.

Transitioning to the topic of policy and protection of biodiversity, Chown spoke on the importance of protecting the Antarctic environment. He noted that many consider Antarctica to be the gold-standard for conservation, but current data is proving otherwise. He explained that scientists have conducted research and experiments on the continent with little regard for any damage they leave in their wake.

Delivering a serious but optimistic message, Chown emphasized that the impact of local human activities and global environmental change pose challenges to Antarctic biodiversity and the preservation of the relatively untouched continent.

The MPYC seminar series, which falls under the umbrella of the Yale Center for Biodiversity and Global Change, typically selects speakers who can address findings, issues and methods around biodiversity and global change broadly, according to Walter Jetz, director of the Center and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

“[Chown] is the world authority on the biodiversity of Antarctic research in a policy context and a highly respected ecologist addressing continental and global systems,” Jetz said. “His work addresses the basic scientific underpinning of Antarctic biodiversity and provides guidance for policy. This bridge between biodiversity science and decision-making touches on many disciplines and is exactly the sort of interdepartmental issue that the Center is keen to bring to the Yale community.”

Attendee Sophie Westacott GRD ’22 explained that she came to the seminar out of curiosity related to her own interests—Westacott studies diatoms, a type of plankton, and their links to the Southern Ocean.

According to Jetz, the Center has seminars roughly every other week during the semester and usually hosts one workshop or symposium per semester.

MPYC, which officially opened in May 2018, is a partnership between the Center and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell. It is one of several international Max Planck Centers, which work to connect Max Planck Institutes with international partners for enhanced scientific collaboration, according to MPYC’s website.

Madison Mahoney | madison.mahoney@yale.edu .

  • charliewalls

    What a vacuous article! There was ONE sentence that actually mentioned science — about Westacott and diatoms — and that was the viewer’s interest only. What did the speaker talk about in terms of life there? Surely it wasn’t simply about human organization and organizations as related by M. Mahoney!

  • Arelea Napier

    April 20, 2019

    To: The Citizens of the United States of America and the World at large.

    The Owners of this planet, Heaven, discovered 300 years ago the disease of “sociopathy” had infected our beautiful planet. We were not sure of the origin at the time, so we decided to contain the disease by placing a lookout station above Earth to prevent the disease of sociopathy from leaving the planet and spreading to other places. 300 Nibiruans were stationed on the Moon to guard Earth until a time when the disease of sociopathy could be destroyed.

    In January of 2018 the sociopathy riddled U.S. Military did reach the Moon and captured our Guardians. This is what all of the activity and visits by politicians were about in Antarctica in 2018. The U.S. Military carried out this black operation without the knowledge of the President of the United States of America.

    After capturing Heaven’s Guardians who had served for so long to protect our Earth, other planets, existances and universes from this JEW created disease, the U.S. Military starved to death Heaven’s Guardians and held captive their very Spirits in canisters until June of 2018 when Mother God, Arelea Napier, called out to communicate with our Guardians only to discover they had been murdered and their Spirits held captive by the U.S. Military.

    A Heaven’s search party set out for Antarctica only to find our people had starved to death at the hands of the U.S. Military.

    Since that time, Heaven has verified that 100% of the U.S. Military’s Spirit souls have been removed and replaced with “sociopathic” manufactured souls. These sociopathic souls have no spirit or conscience. In July 2018, Mother God did retrieve all Spirits of not only the U.S. Military, but the entire World military who had been body snatched by the JEW beginning in July of 1991 (approx.16,000,000).

    Ironically, July 1991 was when Mother God, who had been serving in the United States Air Force for four plus years, left the military to finish school full-time.

    Heaven continues to retrieve and destroy the sociopathic souls of the militaries of this World. The military created Artificial Intelligence (AI units) operating out of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico continues to manufacture these monsters. You see, AI is 100% sociopathic as it does not have a spirit or conscience. Their ultimate plan was to take over this world and enslave the Rightful race; the Heaven’s people all of whom are White.

    Love and blessings,
    Mother God (aka Arelea Napier)