International visitors check out Antarctica

Malaysian and Indonesian scientists visited Antarctica last summer as guests of the Australian Government. Dr Siti Alias and En. Omar Pozan from Malaysia visited Casey on Voyage 5, and Dr Agus Supangat and Ir. Muhammad Lukman from Indonesia visited Davis on Voyage 7.

The Academy of Sciences Malaysia has been developing an Antarctic life-science project with the AAD for the past two years. The University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Putra University and the University of Science, Penang, are all contributing to a study of the biodiversity and biology of marine algae, fungi and bacteria. Malaysia’s growing Antarctic program includes upper-atmosphere research and a glaciology project with New Zealand at Scott Base as well as their nascent program with Australia. Next season Malaysian scientists will for the first time conduct their own project within the Australian Antarctic program.

Agus and Luky are not the first Indonesians to travel with the Australians; in 1996 two marine scientists, Ir. Fadli Syamsudin and Ir. Muh. Evri, undertook a marine science voyage and visited Macquarie Island. This year’s scientists visited Davis, where they presented a plaque commemorating the Indonesian Antarctic Expedition 2002, signed by President Megawati Soekarnoputri, to the Australian Antarctic program. Luky collected water samples for a study of aquatic organisms at Hasanuddin University, Sulawesi. Agus will be investigating oceanographic data upon his return.

The AAD has greatly enjoyed the company of our four visitors this season and looks forward to future cooperative work with Malaysian and Indonesian scientists on research questions of common interest.

Michael Stoddart, Chief Scientist, AAD