MUNI Expedition To Antarctica Returns To Czech Republic After Successful Mission
The goal of this year’s expedition was long-term climate monitoring and comprehensive monitoring of the state of polar geosystems and ecosystems. Photo credit: MUNI.
Brno, April 8 (BD) – After two months, the 23 members of MU’s expedition to Antarctica have completed their objectives and returned to the Czech Republic. Expedition groups operated at the J.G. Mendel Czech Science Station on James Ross Island and at the technical-logistics base on Nelson Island in the South Shetland archipelago.
J.G. Mendel Czech Science Station, owned by Masaryk University, was completed on 4 March 2006 and ceremonially opened and handed over to scientists for use on 22 February 2007. The second base, formerly known as Eco-Nelson, now serves as a technical-logistics shelter under the name CZ*ECO Nelson within the infrastructure of the research program. The building was acquired from a private owner by the Czech Antarctic Foundation, which leased it to Masaryk University in 2018 for a period of 99 years.
The goal of this year’s expedition was long-term climate monitoring and comprehensive monitoring of the state of polar geosystems and ecosystems, i.e. local glaciers, long-term frozen soil, deglaciated territory that allows for the growth of lower plants, rivers and lake systems and other geomorphological formations.
Ukrainian scientist Anton Puhovkin, who was part of the mission, will remain in Antarctica. According to Daniel Nývlt, head of the Czech Antarctic research program at the Institute of Geography of the MUNI Faculty of Science, Puhovkin will be able to stay for one year at the Ukrainian station, which is designed for stays of that length, collecting ecological data and samples for the MUNI Faculty of Science research program. Puhovkin started working at MUNI last year thanks to a program to support Ukrainian teachers and scientists affected by the war, after the war left him with nowhere to return from Antarctica..
Filip Hrbáček, the leader of this year’s expedition, highlighted the value of the five-year JUNIOR STAR programme. “This project that began last year continued, focusing on the study of long-term frozen ground changes in the Antarctic Peninsula area, as well as medical research on the effect of stress on the physical health of workers in the polar regions, carried out in cooperation with the Ostrava University Hospital.”
Another of the foreign participants in the expedition, Mohammad Farzamian of the University of Lisbon in Portugal, installed a system that should enable a quantitative analysis of the current ground ice development in areas of long-term frozen ground in relation to climate change. In addition, the climber Dimitris Georgiadis was able to completely repair the roof of the main accommodation facility.