We are happy to be partnering with and supporting nationally accredited organizations, creating opportunities for science and education in Antarctica. We are excited to offer our guests the unique opportunity to learn from and interact with researchers, scientists and educators while onboard the Ocean Endeavour.
Working with carefully selected science partners, we can help to ensure the preservation of the polar regions for generations to come. For more information regarding the projects we support, please read on.
Making a Difference:
One Guest at a Time
1. Our Partnerships
The Mawson's Hut Foundation
We are a proud supporter of the Mawson’s Huts Foundation. The foundation was established in 1997 with the support of the Australian government expressly to conserve Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison (Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica), which were built and occupied by the legendary geologist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. Since then it has funded and organized 13 major expeditions to the historic site.
Antarctic Science Foundation
The Antarctic Science Foundation is an independent, environmental charitable organisation aiming to understand and protect the planet through Antarctic science. The principal purpose is to support world-class scientific research, which will enhance the understanding and protection of the Antarctic, Southern Ocean, and sub-Antarctic natural environments. Increased private sector support for Antarctic science will help to deepen our knowledge of the extraordinary Antarctic environment and its profound influence on global climate and ecosystems.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
We are a proud supporter of the “Protecting Antarctic Giants” project from WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), aiming to implement and promote non-lethal whale research techniques to maximize conversation outcomes for Southern Ocean whales. During the 20th century, more than 2 million whales were commercially harvested to near extinction in the Southern Hemisphere including blue, fin, right, humpback, minke and sperm whales. Climate change and an increase in krill fishing, are just some of the reasons the pressure to learn more about these majestic animals becomes more urgent.
Conducting scientific research into whale distribution and their critical feeding areas helps to understand the effects of climate change has on their habitat. Accompanied by WWF-researchers, travelers will learn about whale migration, experience Zodiac excursions and encounter wildlife such as humpback whales and seals up close. Using innovative technology, such as non-invasive digital and satellite technology as well as drones to study and monitor whale species will directly contribute to the understanding of Antarctica’s whale population and developing a conservation strategy.
2. Onboard Educational Program
Witnessing the astounding wildlife and dramatic landscapes is an enriching and rewarding experience. But, so will your time onboard the ship.
To ensure your connection to Antarctica is as profound as possible, the following on-ship enhancements are included.
Lectures by our onboard expert expedition team
Every expedition aboard the Ocean Endeavour will have a robust educational and science program. Our daily presentations and lectures from prominent scientists, conservationists, experts on wildlife or polar history complement the expedition experience by deepening the clients’ knowledge of the Antarctic regions. Through a series of engaging multimedia presentations, the secrets of the polar worlds will be revealed
Passengers have the opportunity to tub shoulders with biologists, ornithologists, zoologists and more.
Regular briefings keep guests up-to-date on scheduled activities and weather changes, ensuring you’re connected to what’s happening throughout your entire journey.
Open Bridge Policy
The bridge is your expedition ship’s command centre; this is where the magic happens! The Ocean Endeavour has an open bridge policy, which means you are welcome to visit during normal operations. The bridge is a quiet place to witness the navigation of the ship. From here you will also enjoy a great vantage of the route and any wildlife in the waters ahead.
3. Onboard Citizen Science
Our citizen science program harnesses the power of the many, for the greater scientific good. Doing scientific research to understand the many challenges of climate change facing Antarctica, can be quite costly and time-consuming. That is where our passengers can help!
During every Antarctic voyage, our passengers have the chance to observe, record and report on natural phenomena as part of a collaboration project with professional scientists.
Our dedicated citizen science coordinator will lead guest-focused initiatives to maximize our contribution to scientific research.
The data collected will directly contribute to a better understanding of climate change and how it is affecting the polar regions.
We will be supporting the projects offered by the Polar Citizen Science Collective, where the focus lies on five major disciplines: Oceanography, Glaciology, Ornithology, Marine Biology, and Meteorology.
Projects we regularly engage in include:
The most exciting onboard Citizen Science projects are wildlife oriented. So its no surprise that the Happywhale project, which engages citizen scientists to identify individual marine mammals, for fun and for science is very popular. Every passenger is encouraged to set their camera to local time and to take photos of whale sightings and upload them online to happywhale.com.
Our passengers can create a personal Happywhale account and upload their photos (as many as possible) to the site, including the name of the vessel the whale was viewed from and the precise GPS location.
Due to their unique markings, they can be identified and recognized, allowing scientists to track each individual around the globe. This study helps to expand our scientific knowledge of whales’ behaviour and distribution.
Fjordphyto - Phytoplankton Sampling
Phytoplankton are the sea’s most important inhabitants and underpins the marine food chain. It accounts for 50% of all the photosynthesis on earth and every second lungful of the oxygen we inhale was created by phytoplankton.
Since numbers have reduced by 40% in the last 50 years, it is vital to understand how melted glacial water influences and changes the population of phytoplankton in fjords along the west Antarctic Peninsula, and what impact this might have on the polar coastal ecosystem.
Our passengers will collect phytoplankton as they visit various fjords throughout the austral summer. These samples contribute to the PhD projects of two graduate students. The processed data and will be sent to the expedition team and can be discussed during lectures onboard.
To participate in the study, you don’t need to be in Antarctica! This is the only study our passengers can get involved with from anywhere in the world! Research has shown that in some regions, penguin populations are in decline; but why?
Scientists have places time-lapse cameras around different penguin colonies across Antarctica and we encourage our travelers to count penguins to help understand the penguin population changed, and changes in their survival rates and timing of breeding.
These cameras take many images each day, recording the numbers of penguins. Counting them helps scientists to process the vast amount of data.
Sea Ice Observation for ICE WATCH
Ice Watch is often performed in regions infested with sea ice, where the ice morphology is characterized by a set of visual observations.
Our passengers will observe the age, type, and topography of sea ice and help to better understand the progression of the melt of sea ice in summer. The observations will be submitted to the open-source Ice Watch ASSIST Data Network.
NASA’s Globe Observer - Cloud Observations
Clouds affect how much sunlight the earth absorbs and how much heat escapes back into space. While NASA can successfully survey clouds from above, it is impossible for them to see the cloud from below. This where our passengers come in!
By observing and recording cloud cover timed to NASA satellite fly-overs, w help scientists to understand how surface and air temperature are affected by cloud covers and how clouds respond to climate change.
By conducting bird surveys while at sea or onshore, we can help scientists begin to understand mesoscale (within tens of kilometres) seabird distribution patterns and habitat usage in the Southern Ocean. Additionally, the necessary conservation measures can be identified.
Our passengers will be working in small groups with an ornithologist, being out on the deck counting and identifying the various bird flying around the ship.
Secchi Disk: Study of Marine Phytoplankton
Climate change is threatening the phytoplankton that underpins the marine food chain. Hence, understanding its distribution, composition, and abundance is important. This project supports the Secchi Disk Foundation and is named after the white disk developed in 1865 by the Pope’s astronomer Petro Angelo Secchi to measure the clarity of the seawater.
A Secchi Disk will be used to record the Secchi Depth and will be lowered vertically into the seawater from the zodiac. This study offers participants a unique insight into the marine food chain.