Dr Glenn Johnstone: Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons), PhD
Sea floor habitats around coastal Antarctica are biodiversity hotspots, full of activity, colour and species found nowhere else on earth. Marine invertebrates dominate these dynamic communities and provide a useful tool for monitoring how these ecosystems are changing over time. Human activities can impact on even these remote and rarely seen habitats.
Over the last 20 years I’ve been involved in various research projects focused on how human activities influence coastal Antarctic marine communities, particularly the biodiversity of sea floor invertebrates. Such projects use a range of biological, chemical and environmental sampling and imagery survey techniques to monitor and assess the effect of local (past and present station activities) to global scale potential impacts, such as climate change. In addition, several of these projects have monitored the effectiveness of management activities, such as cleaning-up old waste disposal sites and remediating contaminated areas. All of our research projects directly inform the policy settings and environmental management of Australia’s Antarctic Territory.
A large part of my role is to organise and lead the field component of our research projects. This has meant spending many summers in Antarctica, working on, through and under the sea ice, and from boats in the coastal bays around Australia’s Antarctic research stations. My first summer in Antarctica was as a volunteer, leading a small team on a project for the University of Wollongong, where I was completing a PhD. That work led to part-time work and eventually a full-time role with the Antarctic Division. Organising and participating in safe, productive and rewarding field research is still a very motivating and satisfying aspect of my role.
- A Cleaner Antarctica
- Biodiversity of East Antarctica: Underwater and Terrestrial (BEAUT)