Belgium and Antarctica… Researchers’ views

We are happy to get to know about another great initiative: Archives Antarctiques Belges – Belgische Antartic Archives (AABBAA)! The main goal of this non-profit organization is to collect all available documents and objects linked to the history of Belgium in Antarctica.

Mr. Philippe Antoine introduces AABBAA to the general public.

The very first evening conference from AABBAA was organised on 21 March with the theme “Belgium and Antarctica… Researchers’ views”! The conference began with an introduction of AABBAA and its importance in Antarctic research, followed by our introduction of APECS and APECS Belgium 😀 It was a great pleasure! Click below for a short report.

A detailed explanation of protected areas in Antarctica was given by Mr. François André (DG Environment). More information can be found in Antarctic Protected Areas Database.

Mr Jean-Jacques Derwael (UA) kept the spirit of the audience up with his humorous sharing of Belgian expeditions to Antarctica in the past. Since you are here, why not check out the beautiful drawings from Belgian expedition led by Adrien De Gerlache here.

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The duration of 3 most important Belgian expeditions to Antarctica in the past
How it looks like to work for Antarctic research in the past

Next up was Dr. Vinciane Debaille (Free University of Brussels, ULB) who shared their experience in collecting meteorites in Antarctica. They found an 18 kg rare meteorite together with 3 other Japanese researchers and decided to donate the meteorite to the Natural Sciences museum for the public instead of using it for science. I thought it is an amiable gesture which is very much appreciated. More details in this interview.

Prof. Stef Lhermitte (TU Delft) gave a very visual experience of how his studies of calving/surface melt looks like (see more related videos here)

Dr. Bruno Delille (University of Liège) expressed the importance of Southern Ocean as a carbon sink and how they conduct studies on carbon flux in Antarctica.

Last but not least, Marie Verheye (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences) shared her insights on plausible evolutionary paths of amphipod crustaceans collected in an Antarctic expedition.

How amphipod crustaceans may have evolved over time due to geographic separation.

I appreciate that initiatives like AABBAA are making the effort to reach out to public about the importance of polar regions. It is not only the polar regions which are vulnerable to global climate change due to human activities, we are all connected. Perhaps if we all start small by seeding the idea to the mind of public, we could achieve the butterfly effect in the future 🙂

It is awesome that AABBAA has taken its first step! Kudos!