Schatz Energy Research Center
A ship with an orange base and cream decks is docked in a bay with snow-brushed mountains in the distance
Nathaniel B Palmer | photo by Ken Vicknair

July 29 @ noon – Thwaites Glacier Research: on board the NBP

Update (9/1/20): watch the event video

This spring, the Nathaniel B Palmer (NBP) Antarctic research vessel headed for a new destination: Humboldt Bay, California. The COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns had complicated delivery chains from Chile to the US, so the NBP brought its Antarctic field research samples directly back to the States. The ship will be moored off Eureka through the summer, before returning south to Antarctica in September.

In this special Sustainable Futures event, we’ll be joined by three US Antarctic Program participants: Julia Wellner, Principal Investigator with the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration project; Al Hickey, Marine Project Coordinator on the Nathaniel B Palmer who will speak to us from onboard the ship; and Tim McGovern, Ocean Projects Manager within the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs.

Join us for this exciting opportunity to learn about Thwaites Glacier research, life aboard the Nathaniel B Palmer, and polar climate research supported by the US Antarctic Program.

More about our speakers

Dr. Julia Wellner is an Associate Professor at the University of Houston. Her research interests include Antarctic Ice Sheet history since the Eocene, including geomorphic signatures of ice sheet retreat across the continental shelf, sedimentation patterns in fjords, and their relation to oceanographic controls. She also studies Plio-Pleistocene sequence stratigraphy from three-dimensional seismic data, and the Holocene climate of the Antarctic. Wellner and her team recently returned from Antarctica where they were investigating sediments deposited in the seas near the Thwaites Glacier as part of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. She worked closely with British Antarctic Survey scientists on board the NBP.

Tim McGovern is the Ocean Projects Manager for the Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics (AIL) Section, within the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs. In this role, he oversees and coordinates the operations and budgets of the U.S. Antarctic Program’s icebreaking research vessels Nathaniel B Palmer and Laurence M Gould, and all scientific activities in the Antarctic Peninsula, including Palmer Station. He is also currently on the management team of NSF’s single largest award — the contract with Leidos ASC for the operation, maintenance and science support of the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Al Hickey is a Marine Project Coordinator (MPC) for the US Antarctic Program. As MPC he serves as a liaison between the scientists aboard and the ship’s crew. He is a US Coast Guard licensed professional mariner with an educational background in the marine sciences. He has worked closely with many different research and educational vessel platforms since the 1980s. When not working with the USAP, he often goes on assignment overseas as a logistics coordinator for Doctors Without Borders.

Upcoming this fall

Thanks to everyone who participated in our first Sustainable Futures webinar lecture series this spring! We will announce the upcoming semester schedule in August.

This fall, we will also host a series of webinars to share and discuss findings from our offshore wind feasibility studies for the California north coast. Email if you’d like to receive updates on these webinars and our offshore wind research.

We have a new events page for our Sustainable Futures and Schatz Research webinar series, as well as links to external public events where our staff are presenting.

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