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Academics track Manhattan-sized iceberg to prevent maritime hazard

Professor Grant Bigg has been awarded a £50,000 grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for a 6 month project to track the movements and melting of a giant iceberg.

The Iceberg is the size of Singapore in area and is derived from the Pine Island Glacier and is currently moving through the Southern Ocean.

The research collected by tracking its movement, and modelling its trajectory and melting, through the ocean will be used by the shipping industry and associated agencies currently using the Southern Ocean in providing more accurate ice warnings.

“Each of the last three years has seen a giant iceberg calve, from either Greenland or Antarctica. Being able to track and forecast the tracks of these huge blocks of ice will be a major benefit to the shipping industry, particularly as more ships begin to use polar waters, as Arctic sea-ice melts. This ability is what we aim to develop.” Professor Grant Bigg.

Professor Grant Bigg is a leading researcher in Icebergs and their role in the ocean’s freshwater flux and the interactions between climate change and society. He is working with Dr. Bob Marsh, an ocean modeller at the University of Southampton, on this project.

The NERC are the UK’s main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Their work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator.

Guest Seminar on Marine Stewardship and Policy

The Sheffield Marine Research Forum will be hosting a special guest seminar on marine science-policy links entitled:

“Understanding Marine Stewardship & Potential Work Opportunities”

by Professor Paul Leonard
Marine Institute, Plymouth University & Former Head of Defra’s Marine Environment Science Unit

The seminar will take place in the ICOSS Conference room on Tuesday Nov 19th at 1:00pm.

The format will be a 30-minute talk with 30 minutes for group discussion.
We have planned to have lunch at 12:00 with Paul before the seminar.

Brief Biography:

Professor Leonard is a Founding Member of the Natural Capital Initiative. He was head of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Marine Environment Science Unit, where he supported a wide portfolio of research such as the instigation of the Marine Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund, which included extensive biodiversity research in the English Channel as well as education & heritage components. Other work for Defra, included support for the development of marine diversity databases e.g. DASSH and support for government marine policies. His work has also included representing the UK internationally on the EU funded project COST – IMPACT which considered the valuation of ecosystem services in relation to fisheries. He has been a member of the NERC Peer Review College & Science Adviser to Department of Energy and Climate Change. Paul continues to work nationally and internationally and is especially interested in providing scientifically robust evidence to support environmental policy initiatives. He is a Professor at Plymouth University and an Honorary Professor at Brunel University.

Internal event – Free R course

Karthik Ram, lead scientist on the rOpenSci project (, is visiting APS on Monday 9th September to run a free workshop from 14.00-17.00 on ‘Data Science in Ecology using R’. You can find more details in the flyer (PDF available here) , but if you ever use data from the web in your research, from sequences to species distributions to climate records to bibliometrics, this workshop will teach you how to do so more efficiently using all the power of R.