Nick with his much loved camera, in front of Australia's Marine National Facility, the Southern Surveyor.
Nick with his much loved camera, in front of Australia's Marine National Facility, the Southern Surveyor.

Nick with his much loved camera, in front of Australia’s Marine National Facility, the Southern Surveyor.

Not many people get to spend their student days in the Antarctic, but Nick Roden was one of the lucky few.

Nick is a PhD student working with our Wealth from Oceans team and the University of Tasmania. In 2010 he spent a year at Australia’s Davis Station in East Antarctica looking at how the seawater chemistry is rapidly changing as part of a study that began back in 1994.

Nick’s job was to drill through 1.5 metres of sea-ice, often in temperatures as low as -30°C (yep, that’s cold) to collect seawater samples and test the acidity of the water.

And the recently released results were very surprising.

“The changes in acidity over the last sixteen years were much larger than we expected. It looks like natural and human induced changes have combined to amplify ocean acidification,” says Nick.

About 25 per cent of the carbon dioxide released by humans into the atmosphere each year dissolves into the global ocean. This causes ocean acidification, which can affect processes in living organisms that are necessary to maintain life as well as the ability of some marine organisms to form shells or other hard structures made of calcium carbonate.”

“This is important considering every second breath we take contains oxygen generated by microscopic life in our oceans.”

A self portrait Nick captured in Antarctica.
A self portrait Nick captured in Antarctica.

A self portrait Nick captured in Antarctica.

But Nick’s scientific endeavours are only part of his story – there is a symphony as well (sorry, it doesn’t involve dancing penguins).

Nick is taking part in an arts/ocean science collaboration called Lynchpin – the Ocean Project. As part of this work he is producing a short film about a Symphony of the Oceans based on the science of the ocean and climate change.

By combining this symphonic work with video footage from his trips to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, Nick hopes to engage people in a new experience of ocean science.

“There are some important messages that science needs to convey to the wider world and I feel a social responsibility to do that in the best way I can, which at the moment is through science and video.”

Check out some of his footage from East Antarctica below:

You can learn more about Nick’s research project on the IMAS website. Nick also tweets as @NickPRoden.

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The Symphony, ex Oceano – we are from the ocean – the ocean sustains us, will be available on iTunes and by limited edition CD shortly.